CITIZENS   FOR  LIMITED  TAXATION
and the
Citizens Economic Research Foundation

CLT UPDATE
Thursday, December 21, 2006

State's highest court must now assume its legitimate role


An assistant attorney general representing the Commonwealth told the Supreme Judicial Court today that the Legislature is required to vote on citizen-sponsored initiative amendments, including a pending one banning gay marriage. However, there is nothing the court can do to force legislators to follow their constitutional obligations if they choose not to vote, the attorney said.

At a hearing this morning on a gay marriage lawsuit brought by Gov. Mitt Romney and 10 other citizens, Assistant Attorney General Peter Sacks argued the law does not allow the court to impose a "judicial remedy" against the defendants - Senate President Robert Travaglini and Secretary of State William Galvin - if the Legislature decides early next month to end the 2005-2006 Constitutional Convention without voting on the marriage amendment....

John Hanify, the lawyer representing the plaintiffs, said it was the first time he had heard the attorney generalís office agree that the Legislature is required to vote on initiative petitions.

"In earlier cases the attorney general has taken a position that final action doesnít mean final action as we had expressed in our papers, meaning they would have to vote. So he is now taking the position that it means what we say it means but that weíre just out of luck," Hanify told reporters after the hearing.

In court, Hanify, with all seven justices present, asked the SJC to "make it clear" to legislators that they have to follow their constitutional obligation, which he said he interpreted as requiring lawmakers to take a vote on the gay marriage petition in the next joint session on Jan. 2.

"I hope this court will do it to avoid the ambiguity that legislators have made in public statements," said Hanify....

Last month, Travaglini, during an interview on "Greater Boston," said he expected parliamentary maneuvers to continue January 2 from gay marriage supporters. "I personally believe that we should take a final vote on this issue one way or the other," Travaglini said. "But I need to get 101 people to agree with me that this is the right way to go."

Travaglini said some people are mistakenly under the impression that he has the power to force an up-or-down vote on the question, a decision that he says is up to the members of the House and Senate voting jointly....

Kris Mineau, president of the Massachusetts Family Institute, said that Massachusetts is in "constitutional crisis" citing initiatives petitions have been in place for the last 80 years and claiming that for the past 20 years the Legislature has not followed its constitutional obligations.

State House News Service
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Voting requirements argued in Gay Marriage case,
as final convention nears


Senate President Robert E. Travaglini yesterday publicly scolded incoming governor Deval Patrick, telling a breakfast audience that he had warned Patrick to cooperate with the Legislature or Travaglini would withdraw support for Patrick's agenda.

In remarks that shocked some in the audience, the Senate president said that he wants to work with the governor-elect, but he strongly suggested that if things don't go well, the Senate will block Patrick's legislative efforts.

According to the notes of one audience member, Travaglini said: "I told the governor-elect, if you're willing to share and you care and you prepare and are ready to deliver, then everything will work out. If not, I have senators across the state who share my vision and my approach and if forced to choose, I'm comfortable with whom they'll choose."

The Boston Globe
Friday, December 15, 2006
Travaglini publicly rebukes Patrick
Warns governor-elect to work with Legislature


The lawyer representing the president of the state Senate told the seven justices in oral arguments that if the Legislature fails to act before the session ends Jan. 2, the people's only recourse is to vote for different legislators in the next election.

"Our position is that judicial relief is not available," even though architects of the state ballot initiative process intended lawmakers to bring such measures to a vote, said Assistant Attorney General Peter Sacks, who defended Senate President Robert E. Travaglini and Secretary of State William F. Galvin in the lawsuit....

In a radio interview yesterday on WBUR, Travaglini, who was among the 87 legislators who voted against a recess, said the amendment should be brought to a vote. "I do believe ... in my own personal and political professional view, that a vote is the appropriate action to take on the measure, one way or the other," he said....

The Committee for Health Care for Massachusetts filed a brief siding with backers of the marriage ban, saying the convention recessed without taking action on an initiative to guarantee affordable health coverage.

The Boston Globe
Thursday, December 21, 2006
SJC role in gay marriage vote argued
Plaintiffs want legislators guided


Time and again on a variety of issues legislators have shirked their constitutional duty to do what they were sent to Beacon Hill to do -- to vote. Up or down, it doesnít matter. But these profiles in courage canít even do that.

Sure, itís a simple thing to repeat the truism, as Assistant Attorney General Peter Sacks (representing the Senate president) did, that the only real remedy is at the ballot box. That when legislators donít fairly represent their constituents, it remains for voters to vote them out. But in practical terms we all know that rarely happens.

And surely the court should do something other than throwing up its hands and saying "Hey, youíre right, but itís not our problem." The result, as Justice Martha Sosman indicated, would be that "the Constitution will continue to be violated." ...

The court has only one real weapon at its disposal right now -- the ability to tell legislators what their duty under the Constitution is. Because given their current behavior clearly they have forgotten that.

A Boston Herald editorial
Thursday, December 21, 2006
SJC can tell íem the law matters


In an abrupt about-face, Senate President Robert Travaglini tried Friday to atone for opening a rift with Gov.-elect Deval Patrick, claiming he "misspoke" Thursday when he told an audience that the Senate would pull its support for Patrickís agenda if the outsider tries to muscle the Legislature.

State House News Service
Friday, December 15, 2006
Senate-president, governor-elect patch things up


"Are you ever going to be that contrite again?" joked Patrick.

"It's certainly not consistent with my character," the East Boston Democrat shot back with a smile.

Travaglini did not explain what he had intended to say, only that he had misspoken.

The Boston Globe
Saturday, December 16, 2006
Travaglini backs off tough talk on Patrick
Senate leader offers apology


Chip Ford's CLT Commentary

So which is it?  Does the President of the Senate have his ducks lined up in a row waddling in lockstep -- or does he not?

As the presiding officer of a Constitutional Convention, can state Senate President Travaglini influence a simple up-or-down vote mandated by the state Constitution -- now stipulated by all parties concerned -- or is he being "disingenuous" in one of his assertions, or in the other?

Which is it?

Even the state-obliged attorney for the defense, Assistant Attorney General Peter Sacks, defending both plaintiffs the senate president and Secretary of State William Galvin, has surprisingly conceded "that the Legislature is required to vote on citizen-sponsored initiative amendments," according to the State House News Service and those present at the state Supreme Judicial Court hearing yesterday -- including CLT Associate Director Chip Faulkner.  That's a stipulation, a given, an accepted fact of law by both parties involved in the case.

[View the actual SJC oral arguments by clicking here]

Nobody's arguing that it isn't, even at the outset.  What the plaintiffs are seeking -- the petition amendment's sponsors and the 170,000 Massachusetts voters who signed it -- is, dare I say, impartial justice, "redress of their grievances."  They want simple justice, a remedy delivered from the state's highest court to a Legislature that thus far feels itself above the rule of law and immune from obligation.  An obligation to both the Constitution and their oaths of office:

"I, ____, do solemnly swear, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and will support the constitution thereof. So help me God."

The "Separation of Powers" argument should not be a roadblock for the SJC, or even a speed bump.  This is why the brilliance of the Founding Fathers created three separate but equal branches of government:  Executive, Legislative, and Judicial.

The highest court's duty from time to time is to sort those out, keep each elected official and the branch he or she represents honest and within constitutional propriety.  Its duty is to limit them to exercising only the powers temporarily delegated while they hold office and to hold them responsible for the oath that each took to "support the constitution thereof."  The court's duty is to protect citizens from arbitrary, capricious, and extra-constitutional abuse by any branch or official.

I see this as the state Supreme Judicial Court's primary responsibility and highest purpose; for without a constitution there would be no legitimate laws.  Before there was a constitution, there were only laws decreed by a sovereign king in a distant land executed by his minions.  It was the constitution which created this government of the people, which only then began creating laws under which citizens agreed to be justly governed.  When the very constitution itself is violated without consequence, simply ignored, government abuse is boundless.

Legislative abuse is now starkly apparent.  It has been for far too long and the arrogance of that branch is growing.  The court must do its duty as arbiter, or we citizens have all lost, regardless of our political bent.  Otherwise, just call us what we are quickly becoming:  Subjects of the Commonwealth; through apathy our former rights forsaken.

Chip Ford

See also:  "A vote for democracy" by Barbara Anderson
The Boston Globe, December 23, 2006
 


State House News Service
Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Voting requirements argued in Gay Marriage case,
as final convention nears
By Priscilla Yeon


An assistant attorney general representing the Commonwealth told the Supreme Judicial Court today that the Legislature is required to vote on citizen-sponsored initiative amendments, including a pending one banning gay marriage. However, there is nothing the court can do to force legislators to follow their constitutional obligations if they choose not to vote, the attorney said.

At a hearing this morning on a gay marriage lawsuit brought by Gov. Mitt Romney and 10 other citizens, Assistant Attorney General Peter Sacks argued the law does not allow the court to impose a "judicial remedy" against the defendants -- Senate President Robert Travaglini and Secretary of State William Galvin -- if the Legislature decides early next month to end the 2005-2006 Constitutional Convention without voting on the marriage amendment.

The amendment is a citizen-petition signed by 170,000 residents who are proposing to define marriage as between one man and one woman only. Same-sex marriage here became legal in 2004 following a 2003 SJC decision.

John Hanify, the lawyer representing the plaintiffs, said it was the first time he had heard the attorney generalís office agree that the Legislature is required to vote on initiative petitions.

"In earlier cases the attorney general has taken a position that final action doesnít mean final action as we had expressed in our papers, meaning they would have to vote. So he is now taking the position that it means what we say it means but that weíre just out of luck," Hanify told reporters after the hearing.

In court, Hanify, with all seven justices present, asked the SJC to "make it clear" to legislators that they have to follow their constitutional obligation, which he said he interpreted as requiring lawmakers to take a vote on the gay marriage petition in the next joint session on Jan. 2.

"I hope this court will do it to avoid the ambiguity that legislators have made in public statements," said Hanify.

But justices questioned if they could define a constitutional obligation based on an "ambiguous" part of the constitution.

Hanify said it is not clear from past cases what the Legislatureís affirmative obligations are during joint sessions.

"What has comes through in the cases, with all due respect, is an emerging and overwhelming sense of judicial restraint which I think has been appropriate until now," said Hanify.

"Thatís one way to describe it, the other way to describe it is genuine ambiguity in the words of the constitution," said Margaret Marshall, the chief justice who authored the 2003 court decisions legalizing same-sex marriage.

The plaintiffs want the high court to force legislators to vote on the gay marriage amendment on Jan. 2 or order that the question be placed on the ballot in the next general election. The lawsuit comes after the Legislatureís decision in November, by a 109-87 vote, to recess the Constitutional Convention until January 2, without taking a vote on the amendment. Previous conventions have also been recessed without a vote on the proposal.

Romney, a potential GOP presidential candidate who has emphasized his conservative stands more eloquently this year, condemned the 109 lawmakers, saying they violated their oath of office by not taking a vote on the petition.

Asking him to point to language in the law, Marshall and Justice Francis Spina asked Hanify if it would be "unconstitutional" if [the] Legislature voted to table the decision on January 2. Hanify replied: "I donít think it says that."

Hanify said Travaglini should serve as a "notice giver" to the members the Legislature to make sure they all understand their "duties" when they return to the Constitutional Convention.

"I donít think our petition nor our brief suggests that he (Senate President) can force a vote by anybody. We recognize the rules and how they will apply, regrettably," said Hanify.

Travaglini voted against recessing the early November convention just before the gay marriage question, which requires only 50 votes to advance, was due to come up for a potential vote.

Last month, Travaglini, during an interview on "Greater Boston," said he expected parliamentary maneuvers to continue January 2 from gay marriage supporters. "I personally believe that we should take a final vote on this issue one way or the other," Travaglini said. "But I need to get 101 people to agree with me that this is the right way to go."

Travaglini said some people are mistakenly under the impression that he has the power to force an up-or-down vote on the question, a decision that he says is up to the members of the House and Senate voting jointly. "They can engage in a number of parliamentary maneuvers and they will. This is what people donít understand," Travaglini said of gay marriage supporters, including Speaker Salvatore DiMasi, who worked hard to line up the votes to recess the convention without voting on the marriage petition. Travaglini added: "Itís about fairness. Itís about decency. Itís about diplomacy and itís about the full discussion of a very intensely personal issue that ... should be voted on by the people."

Gay marriage supporters, who have claimed that any procedural tactics are worth it to prevent marriage rights from being put to a popular vote, celebrated loudly after the November vote to recess.

In court today, Sacks said the court can make the law clear, but it cannot enter in any "declaratory or writ of mandamus relief" to require legislators to vote on the amendment.

Justices then asked Sacks what kind of remedies the petitioners who signed the citizen-initiative could pursue, Sacks said the "ballot box," which would mean electing legislators who are in favor taking up the vote to replace lawmakers who are "violating" the process, was the only remedy.

Lee Swislow, executive director of Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, said there is "nothing new judicially" that happened today.

"Whatís important is that the Legislature is doing exactly what it should be doing," said Swislow. "They are voting their conscience and they are doing what they think is right."

Kris Mineau, president of the Massachusetts Family Institute, said that Massachusetts is in "constitutional crisis" citing initiatives petitions have been in place for the last 80 years and claiming that for the past 20 years the Legislature has not followed its constitutional obligations.

He said he hopes SJC issues a decision before Jan. 2 and reaffirms its previous decision that the Legislature is obligated to vote.

"I think that itís very difficult to judge what a court would do based on the questions asked in an oral argument," said Hanify after the hearing.


The Boston Globe
Friday, December 15, 2006

Travaglini publicly rebukes Patrick
Warns governor-elect to work with Legislature
By Andrea Estes and Frank Phillips, Globe Staff


Senate President Robert E. Travaglini yesterday publicly scolded incoming governor Deval Patrick, telling a breakfast audience that he had warned Patrick to cooperate with the Legislature or Travaglini would withdraw support for Patrick's agenda.

In remarks that shocked some in the audience, the Senate president said that he wants to work with the governor-elect, but he strongly suggested that if things don't go well, the Senate will block Patrick's legislative efforts.

According to the notes of one audience member, Travaglini said: "I told the governor-elect, if you're willing to share and you care and you prepare and are ready to deliver, then everything will work out. If not, I have senators across the state who share my vision and my approach and if forced to choose, I'm comfortable with whom they'll choose."

The remarks were confirmed by five people, who gave similar accounts of his statements, but did not want to be quoted by name. Travaglini spokeswoman Ann Dufresne did not return repeated phone calls seeking a comment yesterday.

Delivered before roughly 300 people at a meeting of the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties, the remarks were the first public sign of a fissure between the Democrat-run Legislature and Patrick, who ran aggressively against the Beacon Hill culture during his campaign.

Travaglini's unexpected rebuke of Patrick breaks the public image of unity that the legislative leadership and the governor-elect have been displaying since the November election.

"I think that most people were surprised by how candid he was," said David I. Begelfer, chief executive of the association.

"Eyes were wide open all over the room," added a lawyer who attended the event, "People were shocked by the tone and the force with which he made his remarks."

Travaglini was at the event, held at the Hyatt Hotel, to receive an award for his work on a bill streamlining permitting for development projects. A Boston Redevelopment Authority official also made a presentation about the 1,000-foot office tower proposed on the site of a downtown garage.

The audience members who described Travaglini's remarks said they appeared to be designed to dispel the idea that because Democrats will control the House, the Senate, and the governor's office next year, the state will return to lavish spending.

To make the point, Travaglini highlighted the differences between him, House Speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi, and Patrick, saying that, "like the Velcro brothers, we're stuck with each other for better or worse," according to the audience members.

The audience members also reported that Travaglini said Patrick downplayed his promise to slash waste in the budget, though yesterday Patrick's office insisted he stood firmly by his vow to cut inefficient spending.

Travaglini said that in recent discussions with Patrick, he warned the governor-elect to stop making public promises to cut $1 billion in waste.

The Senate president said he told Patrick that the pledge insults the Legislature. If there is that much bloat in the budget, Travaglini said, then he hasn't been doing his job.

Patrick has repeatedly said he can find $735 million in wasteful spending in the yearly budget. According to audience members, Travaglini said when he objected to the figure, Patrick backed off and said he didn't really mean it.

Travaglini said he told him: "If you don't mean it, you shouldn't say it," according to several people who attended the breakfast. Travaglini said he told Patrick that he needs to stop campaigning and begin governing.

Asked about the Senate president's remarks yesterday, Patrick issued a statement reiterating his position that there is waste in state government that must be eliminated.

"Governor-elect Patrick strongly believes that there are efficiencies in government that can and must be achieved, and he has tasked administration and finance secretary appointee Leslie Kirwan with performing a top-to-bottom review of the current budget to begin to identify them," said spokeswoman Cyndi Roy.

But she refused to comment on Travaglini's reported descriptions of his discussions with Patrick, saying: "Conversations between the Senate president and the governor-elect were private. We will continue to keep those private."

For Patrick, a good relationship with the Senate president will be critical to his success as he looks to deliver on campaign promises such as adding 1,000 new police officers, which he reiterated yesterday at a press conference.

Travaglini's remarks were a sharp departure from his exuberance on election day, when he expressed excitement about Patrick's sweeping victory and said it has changed his thinking about leaving the Senate. "This is a great opportunity for the Democratic Party and I'm excited about it," he said in an interview that day. Travaglini had been talking about giving up his seat, but said he wanted to stay so the Senate, the House, and Patrick could work collaboratively on an ambitious legislative agenda.

It was unclear what prompted the change of tone.

Travaglini, of East Boston, has expressed frustration over Patrick's appointment of Kirwan as administration and finance secretary, according to two Beacon Hill officials. Travaglini clashed with Kirwan, currently finance director of the Massachusetts Port Authority, over the relationship between the authority and the communities in his district.

Travaglini's close friend, Boston lawyer James Aloisi, is being considered by Patrick for secretary of transportation. Patrick is facing increasing pressure from Aloisi's opponents because of his longtime involvement in the Big Dig project, of which Patrick has been critical. Aloisi was at the center of many of the decisions involving the $14.6 billion project.

The other two finalists are said to be Stephanie Pollack, cochairwoman of Patrick's working group on transportation, and Joseph Aiello, who is also a member of that group.

Legislators have also been concerned that Patrick may move to cut earmarks, money that is directed by legislators to local projects. "They are not pork," DiMasi said earlier this week. "They are legislators' priorities."


The Boston Globe
Thursday, December 21, 2006

SJC role in gay marriage vote argued
Plaintiffs want legislators guided
By Jonathan Saltzman and Andrew Ryan


Both sides in a legal battle over a proposed ballot initiative to ban gay marriage acknowledged yesterday that the Supreme Judicial Court cannot force the Legislature to vote on whether to put it on the ballot.

The lawyer representing the president of the state Senate told the seven justices in oral arguments that if the Legislature fails to act before the session ends Jan. 2, the people's only recourse is to vote for different legislators in the next election.

"Our position is that judicial relief is not available," even though architects of the state ballot initiative process intended lawmakers to bring such measures to a vote, said Assistant Attorney General Peter Sacks, who defended Senate President Robert E. Travaglini and Secretary of State William F. Galvin in the lawsuit.

The suit, spearheaded by Governor Mitt Romney, charges that legislators subverted the state constitution Nov. 9 when they met as a constitutional convention and took no action on the voter-initiative petition. The Legislature voted, 109 to 87, to recess before deciding whether to put the amendment on the 2008 ballot.

John D. Hanify, a lawyer representing Romney as a private citizen and 10 other plaintiffs, also conceded that the court could not force the Legislature to take a vote, but said the justices could pressure lawmakers to act by spelling out the intentions of the constitutional provision that permits citizen initiatives.

"We're not asking you to tell the Legislature how to do their business," he told the court. "We're only asking you to declare what their constitutional obligations are."

He called the recess an obvious and calculated ploy by the Legislature to duck the issue.

Supporters of the ballot measure want a decision before the legislative session ends, but the court, which legalized gay marriage beginning in May 2004, did not say when it will rule.

Backers of the proposed constitutional amendment collected 170,000 signatures to get the measure on the ballot in 2008. To qualify for a statewide referendum, a measure needs the support of at least 50 legislators in two consecutive sessions. Instead of acting on the measure, the Legislature moved to recess the joint session until Jan. 2.

In a radio interview yesterday on WBUR, Travaglini, who was among the 87 legislators who voted against a recess, said the amendment should be brought to a vote. "I do believe ... in my own personal and political professional view, that a vote is the appropriate action to take on the measure, one way or the other," he said.

Kris Mineau, president of the Massachusetts Family Institute and a supporter of the ban, said yesterday that he hoped the court will resolve what he called a "constitutional crisis."

But Lee Swislow, executive director of Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, said legislators who recessed were "very brave about not allowing this discriminatory amendment to go forward."

The Committee for Health Care for Massachusetts filed a brief siding with backers of the marriage ban, saying the convention recessed without taking action on an initiative to guarantee affordable health coverage.


The Boston Herald
Thursday, December 21, 2006

A Boston Herald editorial
SJC can tell íem the law matters


Voters know and clearly the justices of the Supreme Judicial Court know that the Legislature has shirked its constitutional duty to vote on the anti-gay marriage petition. And lawmakers have given every indication they will continue to do so.

But what can the SJC do?

If there is no judicial remedy -- especially given the strong separation of powers clause of the Massachusetts Constitution -- what role is left for the court?

Well, as Chief Justice Margaret Marshall said at yesterdayís hearing on the case, "Certainly itís the duty of the court to clarify what the Constitution means."

It is indeed. And perhaps thatís the best the petitioners in this case -- those who want to put on the ballot a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriages -- can hope for.

Time and again on a variety of issues legislators have shirked their constitutional duty to do what they were sent to Beacon Hill to do -- to vote. Up or down, it doesnít matter. But these profiles in courage canít even do that.

Sure, itís a simple thing to repeat the truism, as Assistant Attorney General Peter Sacks (representing the Senate president) did, that the only real remedy is at the ballot box. That when legislators donít fairly represent their constituents, it remains for voters to vote them out. But in practical terms we all know that rarely happens.

And surely the court should do something other than throwing up its hands and saying "Hey, youíre right, but itís not our problem." The result, as Justice Martha Sosman indicated, would be that "the Constitution will continue to be violated."

A ban on gay marriage isnít the only issue the Legislature ducked before recessing until Jan. 2, the day before the 2006 session is due to end. They also failed to vote on an initiative petition on universal health care. That is being heard as a separate case in which supporters are asking the court to "deem" the petition approved in the absence of a vote and order the secretary of state to put it on the 2008 ballot.

It would be delightful to imagine the court sending out marshals to round up lawmakers and giving them a police escort back to the State House. But that only happens in Texas. And then what? It canít force a vote.

The court has only one real weapon at its disposal right now -- the ability to tell legislators what their duty under the Constitution is. Because given their current behavior clearly they have forgotten that.


State House News Service
Friday, December 15, 2006

Senate-president, governor-elect patch things up
By Jim OíSullivan


In an abrupt about-face, Senate President Robert Travaglini tried Friday to atone for opening a rift with Gov.-elect Deval Patrick, claiming he "misspoke" Thursday when he told an audience that the Senate would pull its support for Patrickís agenda if the outsider tries to muscle the Legislature.

"I misspoke. What I did was make public a conversation that was private between the governor and I and made public some of those details, and I donít think that was appropriate to do," Travaglini said as he and Patrick stood in the State House press room Friday afternoon.

Travagliniís Thursday comments made front-page news in the Boston Globe, which relayed audience membersí recollections that had the East Boston Democrat saying, "I told the governor-elect, if you're willing to share and you care and you prepare and are ready to deliver, then everything will work out. If not, I have senators across the state who share my vision and my approach and if forced to choose, I'm comfortable with whom they'll choose."

The unusual and hastily arranged press availability underscored the efforts both leaders are making to project harmony as Patrick prepares to succeed Gov. Mitt Romney next month. The pair embraced after addressing reporters.

Travaglini told reporters, "I wanted to demonstrate that the relationship that Deval and I have is significant, it means an awful lot to me and Iím committed, along with the members of the Senate, to helping him off, to get off to a good start, and to make sure that we partner in the agenda of the administration and to be helpful and the article this morning ran counter to that, so I wanted to make sure that we got this back on track."

Asked if he agreed with any of Travagliniís critiques aired Thursday, Patrick replied, "Wait for the legislative agenda."

Travaglini said their appearance was motivated by his fear that a rift between the two could be perceived. "I wanted to make sure we got this back on track," he told reporters.

He said, "The relationship between Deval and I is important not only to he and I, but to everyone who resides in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts."

Patrick said, "This is my friend and my new partner and we are looking forward to and are starting on building a very strong relationship."

Patrick and Travaglini said theyíd spoken twice Thursday, after they learned Travagliniís comments would become widely known. Lightly punching Travaglini on the arm, Patrick quipped Friday, "Are you ever going to be that contrite again?"

The pair emerged from Travagliniís office at 3 pm and strolled up to the fourth-floor press gallery, an unusual joint visit to an informal setting. Travaglini said such a gesture marked a first for him.

Since even before Patrick last month became the first Democrat elected governor in 20 years, speculation has abounded on Beacon Hill about how Travaglini and House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi would handle a chief executive from their own party. With the legislative GOP largely a non-factor for the last several years, a string of Republican governors has provided the counterweight to Democratic power brokers.

With much of his electoral appeal flowing from his image as a fresh face, Patrick campaigned on a platform of slashing $735 million in wasteful state spending, and said during the race, "We must confront the Big Dig culture on Beacon Hill, which is one of neglect and inaction."

Trying to downplay the dislocation-of-power storyline, Patrick, Travaglini and DiMasi met privately in Travagliniís office six days after the election, but did not speak publicly together.

DiMasi, who was in Amherst speaking at an orientation for freshman legislators, was not invited to Fridayís joint appearance, his spokesman Kyle Sullivan said.

DiMasi is the Beacon Hill figure best known for hugs, his embraces a frequent reminder of his public affability. "Under my speakership, there's going to be a lot of hugging," he said when he was elected House leader in 2004.

Travaglini and DiMasi, a North End Democrat whose House seat sits partially in Travagliniís Senate district, have suffered through their own feuds, most notably during the formulation of a major health care reform bill that consumed much of the soon-to-end legislative session.

Both legislative leaders publicly backed Attorney General Thomas Reilly during the Democratic primary, though DiMasi at the party convention helped venture capitalist Christopher Gabrieli onto the ballot. After the September primary, both announced support for Patrick.

Senators said Travagliniís admissions on Friday didnít surprise them, and they said no fissure has yet occurred between the Senate and governor-elect.

"Every governor gets a honeymoon, so thereís a period of time in which you have to get used to peopleís styles," said Sen. Michael Morrissey (D-Quincy). "In this case, Deval Patrick has to get used to the Senate presidentís style, and the Senate president has to get used to him. Nothing more, nothing less."

"I know Travís as easy to get along with as anybody, and I think heís eager to get to work with Deval Patrick in January, and I donít know anything other than that," said Sen. Jack Hart, a South Boston Democrat and Travaglini ally.

The short walk from Travagliniís third floor office suite ended with surprised reporters looking up to find Patrick and Travaglini entering, and Patrick sampling coffee cake open on a desk. Prominently displayed in the press room is a bumper sticker reading, "Free íem All Deval," a vestige of Lt. Gov. Kerry Healeyís campaign efforts to paint Patrick as soft on crime.

"I wanted to demonstrate that the relationship that Deval and I have is significant, it means an awful lot to me and Iím committed, along with the members of the Senate, to helping him off, to get off to a good start, and to make sure that we partner in the agenda of the administration and to be helpful and the article this morning ran counter to that, so I wanted to make sure that we got this back on track."

Later, after Travaglini said he found the Globe article inaccurate, Patrick joked to him, "Donít fight the press."

Patrick last month told newspaper executives that many of their newsrooms "didnít get it" during their election coverage, saying they had missed the essential optimism and appeal of his candidacy.


The Boston Globe
Saturday, December 16, 2006

Travaglini backs off tough talk on Patrick
Senate leader offers apology
By Andrea Estes, Globe Staff


Senate President Robert E. Travaglini apologized yesterday for publicly criticizing Deval Patrick, saying he "misspoke" at a breakfast a day earlier when he scolded the incoming governor for blaming the Legislature for wasteful spending and threatened to withhold support for Patrick's legislative agenda.

Travaglini appeared briefly with the governor-elect yesterday afternoon at a hastily called press conference at the State House, where Patrick accepted the apology and said he was not offended by the Senate president's remarks.

"Are you ever going to be that contrite again?" joked Patrick.

"It's certainly not consistent with my character," the East Boston Democrat shot back with a smile.

Travaglini did not explain what he had intended to say, only that he had misspoken.

"What I did was make public a conversation that was private, between the governor and I, and make public some of those details, and I don't think that was appropriate to do," Travaglini said. "We're going to have differences, but I think I've demonstrated in the four years I've been president that conflict isn't part of our arsenal. We like to compromise.... What happened yesterday does not fit in that mold."

Travaglini said that the state Senate is "standing ready to partner with the new administration."

The public appearance followed a private apology the day before. The Senate president called Patrick Thursday evening to warn him that the Globe was preparing a story about his comments earlier in the day, a source close to Travaglini said. The two spoke again yesterday and agreed to appear together in a show of unity.

"The relationship between Deval and I is important not only to he and I, but to everyone who resides in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts," Travaglini said. "And to that end, we thought it appropriate to demonstrate quickly that the relationship is strong, is respectful, is professional, and is ready to engage in the issues of the day."

His appearance with Patrick was a rare event on Beacon Hill. Political figures at the State House almost never apologize for their sharp comments or attacks on their colleagues, let alone stand with them before the media to make their mea culpas.

The Globe reported yesterday that Travaglini had stunned several people among hundreds attending a breakfast meeting of the National Association of Commercial and Industrial and Office Properties when he recounted criticism he had leveled at Patrick in recent private conversations.

According to several people who attended the event, Travaglini said he had chided Patrick for pledging to cut nearly a $1 billion of waste from the state government, saying it was an insult to the Legislature. Travaglini told the group that Patrick backed off the pledge, saying he had not really mean it. Travaglini said he then told Patrick, "If you don't mean it, you shouldn't say it," according to several people who were at the breakfast.

At the breakfast meeting, Travaglini also said he had told Patrick that he hoped to work with the governor-elect, who he predicted will do a good job. But, he said, he warned Patrick that if he didn't cooperate with the Senate, his efforts would be thwarted.

"I told the governor-elect, if you're willing to share and you care and you prepare and are ready to deliver, then everything will work out. If not, I have senators across the state who share my vision and my approach, and, if forced to choose, I'm comfortable with whom they'll choose," according to the notes of one audience member.

Yesterday, after Travaglini's about-face, Patrick was conciliatory, calling Travaglini "my friend and my new partner.

"We are looking forward to and have started building a very strong relationship," Patrick said. "We are going to have conversations from time to time that are private and where there are differences. But I've said before and we've said to each other -- not every difference is a controversy. We don't have any significant differences today. What we've been doing is trying to work through our respective ... legislative agendas and, as much as possible, get on the same page from the start."

Despite Travaglini's account that Patrick had told him in their private meetings that he had not meant to say he could cut government waste, the governor-elect made the pledge again yesterday, although he did not blame the Legislature for failing to come up with its own cuts.

"Let me be clear," Patrick said. "I believe and have believed that there are efficiencies that can be gained in state government. That's the Executive Branch and that's the job of every successful organization ... to have a culture of constant improvement. That's what I want to bring to state government. Some of that is happening now. I want to bring a pair of fresh eyes."

For Patrick, good relationships with the Senate president and the speaker of the House are key as he tries to deliver on his promises.

Senators, especially those who supported Patrick, are also hoping for harmony between the Democrat- controlled Legislature and the state's first Democratic governor in 16 years.

"Kumbaya," said state Senator Jarrett T. Barrios, Democrat of Cambridge. "It's fair to say the Senate president and indeed the entire Senate shares so many of the incoming governor's values that we're all extraordinarily excited about Jan. 4. Most of us have never served in the Legislature with a Democratic governor. We're all figuring out what that means. We're fortunate enough to have a gracious leader in our Senate president to help guide us in these new times."

Senator Jack Hart of South Boston praised Travaglini for acknowledging his misstep.

"He demonstrated to me what a big man he is, and it's why I love him," Hart said. "Others might have let it fester and beat their chest and say the Senate needs to be strong.

'Trav is as good a man as I know, and I know Deval Patrick is a good man. I think we'll have a great couple of years ahead of us because of the renewed energy and spirit on Beacon Hill."

Frank Phillips of the Globe staff contributed to this report.


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