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Karyn for State Treasurer

Tuesday, November 2, 2010, 17:14 EDT Leave a comment Go to comments
Karyn Polito for Treasurer

Please vote for Karyn Polito for Massachusetts Treasurer

I don’t usually use my blog to explicitly urge people to vote for or against a particular candidate. I’m making an exception in this case, urging all citizens registered to vote in Massachusetts who haven’t already voted to cast your ballot today for Karyn Polito for Treasurer.

I have known Karyn for many years, since prior to her service in the Massachusetts House and the Shrewsbury Board of Selectmen. I don’t always agree with her on all the issues, but she is a person of integrity and I trust her 100% to do right as Treasurer, which here in Massachusetts includes running the state lottery.

But the biggest reason I’m making this election day plea is because I am utterly disgusted with the antics of Karyn’s opponent, Steve Grossman, and want to see Grossman pay for his lying dirty tricks. Grossman and his campaign have been digging for dirt on Karyn since she won the nomination back in September. The best they could come up with was that she and her familly and friends got low numbers when they signed up for the special Red Sox motor vehicle plates to benefit the Jimmy Fund, the well-known Boston charity associated with the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.

In a television ad that began just last week (when it was too late for Karyn to produce and air a rebuttal ad), Grossman claims that Karyn “grabbed Red Sox license plates that were supposed to be auctioned off to benefit the Jimmy Fund and handed them out to her pals, her family, her donors, and herself.” Here’s what he has lied about outright or deliberately failed to mention:

  • Nobody got plates that were supposed to be auctioned off. On their web site, the Jimmy Fund states, “When the program officially began and the registry was ready to issue the plates, we set aside seven primarily Red Sox-related numbers to auction at our Radio-Telethon… [W]e chose to auction only those seven.” (This statement is on their front page; a screen grab can be seen here.)
  • Karyn didn’t “give” license plates to anybody. Those associated with her who got plates did so by doing what everyone else who applied did: they sent in the application for the special plate and paid the established fee, a portion of which ($28 per plate, according to the Registry of Motor Vehicles web site) was donated to the Jimmy Fund. What did happen, according to the original Boston Globe report, was that the applications of her friends and supporters were marked “per KPolito,” and those applicants apparently got lower numbers than others who applied earlier. The special plate fee was the same for all numbers, however low or high.
  • What Grossman doesn’t say is that Karyn Polito was instrumental in getting the license plate program to fly in the first place. Before it will issue a special plate, be it the Red Sox/Jimmy Fund plate or any other special plates currently available in Massachusetts, the sponsoring group must meet several requirements, including securing 1,500 pre-paid applications for the plate by a set deadline. The deadline was looming, so as a Red Sox fan and Jimmy Fund supporter, Karyn rounded up dozens of her family and friends who agreed to apply for the plates and fork over the special fee so the program could proceed.
  • Neither the Globe article nor the Grossman campaign has been able to say who approved the assignment of lower numbers to Karyn’s friends and family. Karyn told the Worcester Telegram & Gazette that the Jimmy Fund made the decision about who would receive the prime low-number plates up to 100, a contention no one at the Jimmy Fund has refuted. It’s certainly possible they did it as a thank-you to those who pushed them over the 1,500 minimum for applications, because without those people the Red Sox plate wouldn’t have come to fruition.

At worst, Karyn is guilty of asking the Registry to give lower numbers to her friends. But even that wouldn’t have meant any less money for the Jimmy Fund. Contrary to the Globe‘s insinuation of a possible ethics violation, what Karyn and those close to her got was not “something of value” beyond what each of them paid for. On the contrary, it was the Jimmy Fund that got somethign of value—millions of dollars they wouldn’t have gotten without the special plate revenue—because of Karyn’s efforts and those close to her who stepped up and made sure the program didn’t fail.

Oh, there’s one more reason I would like you to vote for Karyn. My brother died of leukemia in 1971 at the age of 5, and the only reason he lived that long was because of the cutting edge treatment he got at Dana Farber with the help of the Jimmy Fund. I am grateful to Karyn for her role in ensuring the success of the Red Sox/Jimmy Fund license plate and would never support her if her actions had reduced the money the Jimmy Fund got from it by even one dime.

So get out and vote. Polls close at 8:00 p.m.

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