MASSACHUSETTS SOLAR INDUSTRY NEEDS A LITTLE SUNLIGHT
Massachusetts has been the national leader in the solar industry creating thousands of jobs and lowering electrical costs for residential consumers and businesses.
The solar success story in the Commonwealth is due in large part to the net metering policy which gives customers fair credit on their utility bills for the valuable clean power they deliver to the local power grid. This crediting arrangement is a crucial element to the State policy encouraging customers to go solar and save money.
Current State law places a permanent cap on net metering participation based on a certain percentage of solar energy use in the service area of a utility company.
Once the cap is reached, utilities are no longer required to offer the incentive to new, nonresidential solar energy customers. This limit has put the brakes on public and private solar projects across the Commonwealth.
Recently, I have been approached by a number of solar businesses in western Massachusetts regarding the lifting of the net metering cap. Without the lifting of the cap, there will be an exodus of the solar industry from Massachusetts costing hundreds of jobs and penalizing consumers.
And, without action from the Legislature and Governor, solar will soon be out of reach for Massachusetts consumers and businesses.
This is particularly damaging for western Massachusetts where the economy is still extremely fragile. Without immediate legislative relief, many solar companies will be forced out of business causing major job loss and not allowing access to energy savings for consumers.
The net metering cap makes no economic or energy policy sense. I am perplexed as to why the Baker Administration considers the lifting of the cap as a tax increase, as suggested by Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Matthew Beaton at a recent legislative hearing. Nothing could be further from the truth as to the economic benefits to the consumer; or, the jobs created by the solar industry.
Last year, the Legislature formed a Net Metering and Solar Task Force bringing the solar industry, utilities, ratepayer advocates and municipal leaders together to chart the future of solar policy in the Commonwealth.
The Task Force concluded that a scenario without net metering caps would be the most cost-effective way to keep solar working for Massachusetts. The Task Force recommended the Legislature act immediately to lift the net metering cap, allowing solar development to continue unimpeded.
As a former Mayor of Springfield, I can say unequivocally for local governments looking to lower energy costs and keep dollars going to critical services, the stakes are especially high.
We have led the nation on solar policy. I urge the Governor and Legislature to lead once again on net metering legislation and allow the solar industry to continue to thrive in Massachusetts.
Michael Albano represents western Massachusetts as a Member of the Governor's Council. He is a former Mayor of Springfield.
April 18, 2015
Push by Governor's Councilor Michael Albano to ban videotaping of strip searches of women inmates gains bipartisan support on Beacon Hill
by Conor Berry
SPRINGFIELD - Governor's Councillor Michael J. Albano believes women inmates deserve to be treated with dignity. That's why the former Springfield mayor is pleased that his push to ban the videotaping of strip searches of female prisoners by male correctional officers has received bipartisan support on Beacon Hill.
"This initiative has gained support from all over the state. I could not be more pleased," said Albano, who's serving his first term on the Governor's Council.
The legislation, while directed at the policy at the Western Massachusetts Regional Women's Correctional Center in Chicopee, will have statewide implications if enacted by the Legislature and governor.
The bill, HD1073, was filed by state Rep. Kay Khan, D-Newton, at the request of Albano and has received support from Democrats and Republicans alike.
The bill, in part, states: "Strip searches of inmates, including the videotaping
thereof, shall not be conducted by or in the immediate vicinity of a correction officer or other employee of the opposite sex, except under an emergency or otherwise urgent situation."
Albano said women serving criminal sentences have the same Constitutional rights as anyone else.
"The policy of conducting strip searches of women in the presence of male correctional officers is also an affront to basic standards of decency," he said.
Albano said the "common sense legislation" has earned the support of Sen. Donald Humason, R-Westfield, and Rep. Ben Swan, D-Springfield, whom Albano characterized as a "conservative" and a "liberal," respectively.
Besides Humason and Swan, the following 17 legislators also are co-sponsors of the bill:
March 13, 2015
THE OLYMPICS IN Boston in 2024 sounds like a grand plan. It certainly would put Boston and the Commonwealth on the international map; but, leave western Mass off the same map.
And while proponents and opponents line up to make their arguments, including the possibility of a statewide referendum, one thing is for certain – if it happens – western Mass will end up the big loser infrastructure wise.
Remember the Big Dig? A transportation project for the greater Boston area originally estimated to cost $2.8 Billion in 1982 – will ultimately cost the taxpayers $24.3 Billion – when the final Bond is paid off in 2038 – including $9.3 Billion in interest alone.
During my terms as Mayor of Springfield (1996-2004) the city and region was always in competition against the Big Dig for infrastructure needs. Always.
From Chapter 90 dollars for basic road repairs; to bigger ticket items like the Memorial Bridge; to the current 91 Viaduct project, western Mass is still suffering the impact of the Big Dig. We never got our fair share.
There is only a limited number of state dollars for these projects. Should Boston be designated for 2024, those area infrastructure projects will be funded and western Mass transportation needs will be put on the back burner for years. There is no way around it unless specific legislation mandates equal distribution of funding across the State. Even then, I have my doubts. There will simply be no way to say no to the needs of Boston 2024.
I’m not against the Olympics. I am for western Massachusetts.
Michael Albano is the former mayor of Springfield. He currently serves as a member of the Governor’s Council. He previously served the Commonwealth as a probation officer and member of the Parole Board.
December 20, 2014
For Immediate Release
PROCLAMATION BY GOVERNOR PATRICK ENDS LONG JOURNEY FOR JUSTICE FOR HENRY TAMELEO AND LOUIS GRECO
Governor's Councillor Michael J. Albano today applauded and publicly thanked Governor Deval Patrick for the issuance of a Proclamation for Louis Greco and Henry Tameleo.
In the Proclamation, issued on Friday December 19, 2014 at the State House, the Governor stated: "that any stigma and disgrace associated with the names of Enrico Tameleo and Louis Greco because of their wrongful convictions is hereby removed....."
Mr. Tameleo and Mr. Greco were both wrongly convicted in the Murder of Edward "Teddy" Deegan in March, 1965 and were sentenced to death by electrocution. The death penalty was overturned by the United States Supreme Court in 1972. It was later revealed the FBI and Justice Department intentionally withheld evidence in the cases of Tameleo, Greco, Peter Limone and Joseph Salvati. The FBI and US Attorneys in Massachusetts covered up the injustice for 35 years until information was revealed in the unrelated corruption case of former FBI Special Agent John Connolly.
Joseph Salvati had his sentence commuted in 1997 by Governor William Weld, creating parole eligibility and was later released under conditions of parole. Peter Limone was released in 2000 having his sentence was vacated after evidence was uncovered by US Justice Department Special Prosecutor John Durham proving his innocence of the crime of Murder of Teddy Deegan.
Mr. Albano, who served as a Member of the Governor's Advisory Board of Pardons from 1982-1994, has long advocated for the release and vindication of Tameleo, Limone, Greco and Salvati dating back to 1982. Mr. Albano voted to conduct a hearing for Henry Tameleo, who died in prison in 1985 and before a hearing could be scheduled by the Board. Louis Greco died in prison in 1995 after receiving two favorable recommendations for Executive Clemency; but not acted upon by Governors Dukakis and Weld.
In April, 2002 and again in June, 2003 then Springfield, Massachusetts Mayor Michael Albano supported the posthumous Pardon petitions of Louis Greco and Henry Tameleo. In a letter to the Governor's Advisory Board of Pardons, Mayor Albano, in part, wrote:
"They (the families) deserve the official acknowledgment from the Board and the Governor that Louis Greco and Henry Tameleo were innocent men wrongly convicted for a crime they did not commit. Please recommend this Pardon request........so their innocence will be officially recognized by the Commonwealth. They deserve no less."
In 2006, Mr. Albano testified in the civil trial against the FBI resulting in the largest judgment against the federal government in United States history. The resulting judgment was $101.7 million. In the Court decision, Judge Nancy Gertner held the FBI "responsible for the framing of four innocent men."
Posthumous Pardons and Proclamations by Governors are rare. In 1977, Governor Michael Dukakis granted such Pardons to Bartolomeo Sacco and Nicola Vanzetti, two Italian American immigrants who were electrocuted in the Charleston State Prison in 1932.
In March, 1984 Governor Dukakis also issued, by Executive Order, a Pardon of Domenic Daley and James Halligan, who were hanged in 1806 for a Murder they did not commit and based on "prejudice, intolerance and injustice towards Irish Catholics." Coincidently, Mr. Albano organized the Pardon hearing for Daley and Halligan on behalf of John Carlon, a retired Northampton Firefighter who petitioner the Advisory Board, and authored the recommendation to Governor Dukakis.
Councillor Albano stated, "this Proclamation by Governor Patrick ends a long journey for justice for Greco and Tameleo. It also represents the first time a government official has formally recognized this injustice. Hopefully, some measure of closure will be realized by the Greco and Tameleo families."
For further media inquiry, please contact the Office of Governor's Councillor Michael Albano @ 413 525 4338.
GOVERNOR'S COUNCILLOR MICHAEL ALBANO TO HOST WESTERN MASSACHUSETTS HEARING ON JUDICIAL NOMINATION
The Office of Governor's Councillor Michael Albano, in partnership with the Hampden County Bar Association, today announced the scheduling of a Public Testimony Hearing on the nomination by Governor Patrick of Paul Hart Smyth as a Justice of the District Court, Circuit.
This will be the fifth hearing by the Governor's Council in western Massachusetts.
The hearing is scheduled for Monday, December 1; at Springfield City Hall, City Council Chambers from 4:45 to 6:00.
Prior hearings were held in western Massachusetts by Councillor Albano for William O'Grady; (Chicopee District Court) William Rota; (Southern Berkshire District Court; and, David Dacyczyn; ( Probate and Family Court, Franklin Division) and, Justice Mark Mason. (Superior Court)
The public is invited to attend to offer testimony in favor, or in opposition to the nomination.
Councillor Robert Jubinville of Milton is also scheduled to attend the hearing. Attorney Paul Smyth has been an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Springfield office since 2003 and Chief of that office since 2007. He has been actively involved in community initiatives, including the South Holyoke Safe Neighborhood Initiative and the Mason Square Initiative. Attorney Smyth worked as a Suffolk County prosecutor from 1997 to 2003. If confirmed, he would be designated as a Circuit
The formal confirmation hearing for Attorney Smyth is scheduled forWednesday, December 3 at 10:30am at the State House before the Governor's Council. The vote to confirm the nomination will take place on December 10thand will be Chaired by Governor Patrick.
In making the announcement, Councillor Albano stated "this hearing will continue the practice of bringing Boston to western Massachusetts and allow citizens an opportunity to speak directly on this important position in the Judiciary."
For further media inquiry, please contact the Office of Governor's Councillor Michael Albano at 413 525 4438.
After years of pushing back the date for an Afghan withdrawal, the United States, last month quietly signed a security agreement authorizing US troops to stay for 10 more years. This action means we will have a military presence in Afghanistan for a minimum of 25 years.
As outlined by the White House and Pentagon, our troops will only be in an "advise and assist" capacity. The citizens of Western Massachusetts should understand that our troops, while defined as Advisors, represent the first step toward drawing the US back into full military engagement.
During the internal debate with President Bush of whether to invade Iraq, Secretary of State Colin Powell, who had deep concerns over the implications of invading Iraq, stated, "if you break it, you own it." Those words took on a life of their own and came to define the irresponsible actions leading to the Iraq War; much like the recklessness I witnessed during the Vietnam era and am now observing again with the assistance of an irresponsible Congress.
After 13 years of military action in the Middle East, I am concerned many have not learned the lessons and tragic implications of going into war without any hope of achieving victory. As a speaker in an anti-war rally in 2002 on the steps of City Hall during my tenure as Mayor of Springfield, I believed then, as I do now, that going into that region militarily is a tragic mistake. As Secretary Powell noted, once you remove the current government, you become the government and bear the burden of the people in that country.
He was exactly right.
I was hopeful this President would not make the same mistake in Northern Iraq and Syria. However, with the Pentagon announcing an additional 1500 troops in route to Iraq in a "non-combat role" (exactly the same classification as the U.S. military role in Vietnam) to defend against ISIS, it seems as though the United States has positioned itself for years of a dangerous intervention.
This should be cause for great concern.
A Bill proposed last month by President Obama and approved by Congress authorized greater military involvement in Iraq and Syria against ISIS in the amount of $550 Million. This month, in a lame duck Congressional session, the President seeks $5.5 Billion to continue this misguided action.
I sense we are in for the long haul and more tragedy. Once in, there is no way out.
U.S. Representatives James McGovern, Niki Tsongas, Joe Kennedy III, Katherine Clark, John Tierney, Mike Capuano and Bill Keating all voted against the proposal.
Congressmen Richard Neal and Stephen Lynch voted to authorize military action, to my great disappointment.
There's an old definition of insanity by Albert Einstein, which is "performing the same action over and over, expecting different results."
One would have thought the US would have learned from experiences in Vietnam, and Iraq, and Afghanistan.
The President and Congress are adopting a reckless policy that will keep us perpetually entrenched in a Middle East war at tremendous human and financial costs.
John Kerry, in 1971 upon returning home and reflecting on his service in Vietnam testified to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee:
"How do you ask a man to be the last man to die in Vietnam? How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?"
The same questions should be asked today by Secretary of State John Kerry.
This religious war cannot be won by the United States and should not be fought.
September 29, 2014
ALBANO TO FILE LEGISLATION ON VIDEO STRIP SEARCHES
In response to US District Court Justice Michael Posnor's Judgment that the videotaping of strip searches of women inmates by male correctional officers at the Western Massachusetts Regional Women's Correctional Center (WMRWCC) in Chicopee is unconstitutional, Governor's Councillor Michael J. Albano today announced intentions to file legislation prohibiting such practices and policy.
The legislation, while directed at the policy at the WMRWCC in Chicopee, would have statewide implications if enacted by the Legislature and Governor.
In a previously issued statement on September 11th, Councillor Albano stated:
"those serving prison sentences have a right to be treated with dignity, consistent with the Constitution. The policy of conducting strip searches of women in the presence of male correctional officers is also an affront to basic standards of decency. Judge Ponsor, in his finding, has it exactly right."
Noting the Hampden County Sheriff's Office appealed Judge Posnor's ruling on September 17th to the First Circuit Court of Appeals, Councillor Albano stated,
"I am optimistic legislation can be enacted quickly to protect the rights of sentenced women under the provisions of the Fourth Amendment."
Albano noted the Governor took action in May on a Bill which restricted the shackling of female inmates while they are pregnant or during childbirth.
In addition, in March, the Governor and Legislature took unprecedented speedy action to prohibit "upskirting" in response to a Supreme Judicial Court ruling.
Councillor Albano stated, "it is clear the Governor and Legislature are particularly sensitive to the concerns of women and individual rights. I am optimistic this legislation can be enacted before the end of the year."
Michael Albano is serving his first term on the Governor's Council having been elected in November, 2012. He is a candidate for re election this November. In addition, his public service career includes Springfield Mayor, (1996-2004) City Councilor, (1992-1996) and School Committeeman. (1986-1990)
He is a former Probation Officer in the Westfield District Court and served as a Member of the State Parole Board from 1982-1994 appointed by Governors King, Dukakis and Weld. He holds Masters Degrees in Criminal Justice and Public Administration and has lectured on reforms in the Criminal Justice field as an Adjunct Professor at area colleges.
For further media inquiry, please contact the Office of Governor's Councillor Michael J. Albano @ 413 525 4438.
I am very proud of the Democratic Primary victories of Carlos and Jose and look forward to serving with them at the State House in January, 2015.
Both Representatives-Elect played major roles in my Mayoral administration. Carlos, as the Senior Administrative Assistant in my office was responsible for constituent services and public policy from 1996 - to my last day in office in 2004; and, Jose who served as a Police Commissioner until his election to the School Committee.
In 2001, after I appointed City Councilor Brian Santaniello to the position of Election Secretary, Jose filled the Council vacancy and became the first Latino Member of the Council in the history of Springfield.
Carlos replaces Cheryl Coakley-Rivera who resigned as State Representative upon her appointment as Assistant Clerk of Courts for Hampden County. Cheryl was also part of my mayoral administration, serving as a Park Commissioner until her election to the House of Representatives. She became the first Hispanic woman State Representative in the history of the Commonwealth.
Congratulations and best wishes to Carlos, Jose and Cheryl on their new and challenging public service careers.
GOVERNOR'S COUNCILLOR MICHAEL ALBANO COMMENDS ATTORNEY GENERAL IN NAMING OF SPECIAL PROSECUTOR
Michael Albano, Governor's Councillor from western Massachusetts, today commended Attorney General Martha Coakley for naming a Special Prosecutor to investigate the death of Joshua Messier at Bridgewater State Hospital.
Attorney General Martha Coakley on Tuesday named former Middlesex prosecutor Martin F. Murphy to conduct a criminal investigation into the circumstances surrounding the 2009 death of Messier, a 23-year-old mental health patient who died at Bridgewater State Hospital after prison guards strapped his wrists and ankles to the corners of a small bed.
Councillor Albano, who previously served as a Member of the Parole Board has been a long standing advocate of reforms in the correctional system regarding inmates afflicted with mental illness.
In February of this year, Councillor Albano, in a letter to Governor Patrick, offered to serve on an independent Commission to review the circumstances leading to the death of Joshua Messier. In the letter Councillor Albano stated:
"Your public comments yesterday indicated a willingness to conduct a review of existing policy by the Department of Corrections into the use of restraints and the rights of inmates. Should the policy review by the administration include creation of an independent Commission, I offer my background and professional experience to serve as a Member."
Governor Patrick chose not to appoint a Commission but rather took administrative action including the firing of the Commissioner of Corrections Luis S. Spencer.
Councillor Albano stated: "while the Special Prosecutor is examining criminal responsibility, it is my hope the tragic death of Joshua Messier triggers mental illness reforms in our correctional system.""I cannot imagine any more cruel and unusual punishment than having a mental illness while being confined in prison."
"Reforms are long overdue in our correctional system in Massachusetts" the Councillor concluded.
For further media inquiry, please contact the Office of Governor's Councillor Michael J. Albano @ 413 525 4438.
August 10, 2014
ALBANO RECEIVES ENDORSEMENT OF PIONEER VALLEY AFL CIO
Governor's Councillor and former Springfield, Massachusetts Mayor Michael Albano today announced the endorsement by the Pioneer Valley AFL CIO Central Labor Council of his campaign for Governor's Council representing western Massachusetts.
The Pioneer Valley AFL-CIO is a voluntary federation of over 50 labor unions with members across the southern Pioneer Valley. The jurisdiction includes the greater Springfield, MA area and all towns in Hampden County, Massachusetts.
They are one of several hundred AFL-CIO labor councils across the country working to carry out the mission of the AFL-CIO at the local level.
The Pioneer Valley AFL-CIO previously endorsed Councillor Albano in his successful campaign for Governor's Council in 2012. Councillor Albano, who has been previously supported by the AFL CIO in his campaigns for School Committee, City Council and four terms as Mayor stated: "This endorsement is a tremendous honor for me personally and politically. Labor does not forget their friends and I shall never forget organized labor."
The Pioneer Valley AFL-CIO joins the International Brotherhood of Police Officer (IBPO- Local 364); the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 1370; the Massachusetts Parole Officers Association (COPS) ; and, the National Correctional Employees Union (NCEU) in endorsing Michael Albano for a second term on Governor's Council.
For further media inquiry, please contact the Office of Governor's Councillor Michael J. Albano @ 413 525 4438.
GOVERNOR'S COUNCILLOR MICHAEL ALBANO TO HOSTWESTERN MASSACHUSETTS HEARING ON JUDICIAL NOMINATION
The Office of Governor's Councillor Michael Albano, in partnership with theFranklin County Bar Association, today announced a public testimony hearing will be held on the nomination by Governor Deval Patrick of Attorney David J. Dacyczyn to the position of Associate Justice, Probate and Family Court, Franklin Division.
In what is believed to be the first such hearing by the Governor's Council inFranklin County, the hearing is scheduled for Monday, August 18th; at the Franklin County Court, 101 Munson Street, Greenfield from 3:30 to 5:30 in Court Room 1.
The public is invited to attend to offer testimony in favor, or in opposition to theGovernor's Councillor Robert Jubinville of Milton will also attend the hearing.
The formal confirmation hearing for Attorney Dacyczyn is scheduled forWednesday, August 20th at 11am at the State House before the Governor's Council. The vote to confirm the nomination by the Council is tentatively scheduled for August 27th with Governor Patrick presiding.
Attorney Dacyczyn has been the judicial case manager at Hampshire CountyProbate & Family Court since 2012. He previously served for 12 years as an assistant judicial case manager in Franklin County. Attorney Dacyczyn practiced in Greenfield from 1992 to 2000 with a concentration in probate and family law, estate planning and small business matters. Attorney Dacyczyn has been in the U.S. Navy Reserves since 1987 and served on active duty in Afghanistan in 2011 and 2012. He is a graduate of Westfield State College, Sam Houston University and New England School of Law. If confirmed, he would fill the vacancy created by the recent retirement of Justice Geoffrey A. Wilson.
In making the announcement, Councillor Albano stated "this hearing will bringBoston to western Massachusetts and allow citizens an opportunity to speak directly on this important position in the Judiciary."
For further media inquiry, please contact the Office of Governor's CouncillorMichael Albano at 413 525 4438.