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March 5, 2009

Can’t Manage the Lottery, Now Wants to Be Governor??

by at 10:36 am.

Via Dick Howe’s blog, a report from the Globe that Treasurer Tim Cahill is considering a run against Governor Patrick. Of course, he’s floating the idea balloon this early in order to assess interest like all pols, but the report says that he’s also thinking he’d run as an independent to avoid going against Patrick in a primary, where he’d be shellacked, in favor of being shellacked in the general. Indys don’t win many elections.

This, from the spendthrift whose tender ministry of the lottery has put revenues for cities and towns in jeopardy during this downturn? I am no big fan of the lottery, which besides being a tax on stupid people, is a tax on desperate people looking for hope, but:

State Treasurer Timothy P. Cahill often says that the Massachusetts Lottery has enjoyed unprecedented growth under his leadership. But a review of lottery records shows that exploding administrative costs at the agency have soaked up a large portion of the new revenue, limiting the amount it shares with Massachusetts cities and towns.

Since Cahill took over five years ago, administrative spending has ballooned by nearly 50 percent, with higher costs for advertising, telephones, computers, and lottery ticket printing, including outside contracts signed with some of the treasurer’s campaign contributors.

Yeah, that doesn’t look like typical Beacon Hill culture, there. The lottery for Cahill has been a great way to secure loyalties from employees and campaign contributers alike. Like this:

On Cahill’s watch, the lottery increased its ranks of employees by nearly 10 percent. It bought 233 cellphones and BlackBerries for employees. It replaced most of its fleet of take-home vehicles for employees, spending $1.25 million to buy 73 new vans, crossover wagons, cars, and a Jeep in the last two years alone.

The lottery also agreed to a more costly lease to pay for $1.3 million in renovations at its Braintree headquarters, including a slick upgrade of the lobby. Visitors can now watch Keno and Mass Millions advertisements on two large flat-screen televisions as they lounge on lime-green art deco couches while a receptionist works under the glow of blue glass pendant lamps.

The HQ, Cahill claims, was redecorated to “make it ‘more enticing’ for visitors and winning ticket holders who come in to claim their money.” Um, hi, those people just won millions, I think that’s enticement enough to come pick up their money. And most of the growth in the lottery was and is eaten up by the burgeoning administrative overhead.

Then there’s his (ruled illegal) plan to privatize the lottery, and his even stupider plan for ugly warehouses of slot machines (hey, they can be “quickly erected”!)

So why, exactly, would we want to put him in the top executive office in the state, where he could work the same magic of cronyism and dumb ideas that benefit his donors (which include gambling interests)? I mean, isn’t that what we’re supposed to be fighting under Patrick? (And at least with the current Gov, his interest in resort casinos wasn’t driven by his campaign coffers.)

Honestly, someone should run against him as Treasurer and put us out of our misery. And please, Tim, feel free to vacate that office and run for Governor where you are sure to be crushed by the Patrick juggernaut. The only thing I’m worried about with Cahill is his big-money donors and their ability to pay Cahill back for his largess while Treasurer. Which won’t sit well with voters, if they know about it.

I mean, is this guy for real?

11 Responses to “Can’t Manage the Lottery, Now Wants to Be Governor??”

  1. joe from Lowell Says:

    State Treasurer Timothy P. Cahill often says that the Massachusetts Lottery has enjoyed unprecedented growth under his leadership. But a review of lottery records shows that exploding administrative costs at the agency have soaked up a large portion of the new revenue..

    You’ve gotta admit, that IS unprecedented growth.

  2. James Says:

    Dismiss as much as you will but if he did run as a third party candidate it could be dangerous to Deval, depending on how well the Republican (Charlie Baker) does. I’m not a Cahill supporter or anything like that, but even if he gets crushed, he’d be attracting those Democrats who don’t like Patrick (even though I think he’s doing a good job, you can’t deny he’s been getting some grief in some circles.)

  3. Lynne Says:

    Indys just don’t do well in the final analysis, unless you’re talking Minnesota, of course. I don’t think there’ll be enough defection, and especially when you factor in that you’re splitting the conservative vote (Cahill is very conservative) with the Republican. He’ll be crushed. Also, I think Patrick has maintained a semblance of popularity, and I for one would certainly be happy to go back to working Patrick’s campaign despite the bumps in the first term and my disagreements on policy (namely casinos). People will vote him in again, if he runs, which I think he will.

    Plus, Cahill makes it sooo easy for Patrick to peg him as a Beacon Hill insider with questionable ties to lobbyists. Suddenly, Patrick can run again as an outsider, despite being Governor!

    I’m more worried about the Republican, but even then, not that worried. Their bench sucks, for one thing. And, I think people feel Patrick has credibility standing up to the legislature, is reform minded enough to earn their trust, and his approach as a practical pol sits well with people. Better the devil you know…and all that.

  4. Ryan Says:

    That’s certainly a fear, James, but Mihos got nearly 10% of the vote and Patrick still rolled over Healey. In the grand scheme of things, I don’t think Baker’s going to be that much tougher than Healey. If Patrick’s ground game is as impressive in election 2.0, he’ll be fine. Though that is actually a big if.

  5. Elizabeth Says:

    I know I’m changing topics here, but anyone got the inside scoop on why Behrakis resigned from Saints Medical?

  6. -b Says:

    Cahill’s track record as Norfolk County Treasurer was also highly suspect as I remember.

  7. Iminthemiddle Says:

    After committing to a certain period of time serving on organizational board, GB has a history of moving on even tho’ he might come back later.

  8. Papa Smurf Says:

    If he loses his bid he can always go back to his old job. Didn’t he used to run a 7-11 or something like that? (Joe Biden would be truly baffled by that)

    This guy should keep his freakin’ head down and hope that nobody realizes what a putz he is. He’s an incumbant which means he pretty much has the job until he dies. He should be happy with that (but they never are).

  9. Paul@01852 Says:

    Papa Smurf, never forget the Peter Principle: “All men rise to their own level of incompetance”

  10. Elizabeth Says:

    In the middle,
    Are you sure it’s got nothing to do w/ Guley? The real story will never make it into the Sun.

  11. Josh Says:

    LOL consider this one of those few times where I agree almost 100% with Lynne.

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