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The 413’s Umbrella Labor Group Speaks on 2021 Municipal Races…

Overwhelmed first by hot vax summer and then the coronavirus encore, municipal elections in the region have not exactly take center stage. Into this relative quiet, the Western Mass Area Labor Federation, the umbrella group for labor in the Pioneer Valley, has announced its preferences in some of the most important contests.

Springfield

Census Bureau Renders Its Judgment upon Western Mass…

Springfield bucked a local trend as its population grew a clip faster than much of the region. The Census Bureau released community-level data Thursday confirming the commonwealth’s growth principally happened in its east. Yet, the information still included some surprises. These both benefited and hurt Bay State localities reflecting both longer-term trends and how the coronavirus possibly warped results.

DOJ U-Turn Puts Trump Taxes Nearly within Neal’s Grasp…

About two years after first filing suit to obtain Donald Trump’s taxes, the House Committee on Ways & Means may finally get them. Late last month, the US Department of Justice released a memo authorizing the Treasury Department to disclose six years of Trump returns to the Committee. This was a reversal from the prior administration, which, obviously, had no interest in having the records make a trip to Capitol Hill.

Take My Council, Please: Supersize That Permit Review!…

SPRINGFIELD—This week the City Council revisited a troubled revision to a drive-through special permit that had hit the skids earlier this year amid an abutter’s complaints. The item has still not achieved passage amid a sluggish review. Frustratingly, the once-complaining neighbor has been MIA, leaving councilors to straighten things out alone with the applicant.

District School Committee Clash in Springfield Formally Begins…

SPRINGFIELD—The only contested School Committee district race here began in earnest Wednesday night with Ayanna Crawford formally launching her bid. She seeks the seat that covers Wards 2 and 8, but in doing so she is challenging incumbent Peter Murphy who has weathered many a challenger emerging victorious each time.

Holyoke City Hall

Analysis: Prejudice, a Familiar Demon in Holyoke, Casts Pall over Election…

As Holyoke assembles perhaps its most diverse field of mayoral candidates ever, there have been reminders of how much progress the city must make. Over the holiday weekend, signs for mayoral candidate Joshua Garcia and city council candidate Israel Rivera were defaced with an anti-Hispanic screed. More than that, the author assigned specific blame to Latinos for the city’s decline.

Holyoke City Hall

Briefings: The Holyoke Mayoral Field Multiplies Yet Again!…

The Holyoke mayoral contests appears to be galloping toward an eight-person field as the certification process winds down. Christopher Kosinksi, a lesser known figure who had pulled papers early on, has turned in sufficient signatures in recent days. Meanwhile, a former city councilor turned recurring electoral guest star has announced, he, too, is running.

Briefings: Chang-Diaz is First Sitting Pol to Enter Gubernatorial Fray…

The Democratic field for governor expanded again Wednesday morning as sitting Boston Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz leapt into the fray. A stalwart of the State Senate’s left since her upset victory over an incumbent in 2008, Chang-Diaz brings the race to three major contenders. Ever looming is Attorney General Maura Healey, but the growth of the field could also begin to smoke a decision out of her.

Take My Council, Please: Mayor’s Post-COVID Budget Passes Unscathed…

SPRINGFIELD—Despite roughly two hours of often passionate debate, the City Council here unanimously approved Mayor Domenico Sarno’s budget for fiscal year 2022 without cuts. With some help from the American Rescue Plan, the $756 million spending plan largely peels city government off the floor after going into a defensive fiscal crouch during the coronavirus pandemic.