The Party of Open: Open Government, Open Culture, Open Innovation & People First

Monthly archive: January 2016

Mass Political Finance Transparency vs Public Records Transparency

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After moving to Boston, one of the first places I visited was the Prudential Center Skywalk. There’s a great view up on the 50th floor, along with a gift shop. One of the T-shirts in the gift shop caught my attention; it was parking ticket orange, and said “Boston: a FINE place to visit”. Boston parking enforcement is legend, and it’s led to underground classics like 1986’s “The Little Book of Boston Parking Horrors”. The cover shows a guy choking a woman on the sidewalk and a woman chasing someone down the street with a hatchet. In the middle of it all, a Boston patrol officer calmly writes a citation to some poor schmuck whose meter expired. This isn’t much of an exaggeration. The stories in this book are terrible, and in the words of a friend, “you can’t make this stuff up”. Today, there’s another tragedy going on, and it’s bigger than Boston. I’m talking about Massachusetts public records law. This video, from a Jan 21st rally for public records reform is shorter than the Little Book of Boston Parking Horrors, but the stories are just as painful to listen to. Let me summarize a few points from the video: Suppose you sue the state for access to public records, and win in court. The MA public records law doesn’t guarantee you’ll be able to recoup legal fees. MA is one of three states that doesn’t guarantee recoupment of legal fees. By statute, agencies are required to respond to public records requests within 10 business days. The 10-day time limit is routinely disregarded. The Massachusetts Municipal Association (MMA) is lobbying against public records reform. The MMA claims that public records requests create too much of a burden on municipal clerks. (I’ll have more to say about this later.) An … Read more

published under Main Topic, Transparency | Comments Off on Mass Political Finance Transparency vs Public Records Transparency

Sat., 1/30, Campaign Planning Meeting

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Our next 2016 campaign meeting is this Saturday, January 30th from 3-5pm. If you want to ensure that Pirates shake up our one party state, join us. We will meet at 25 Moore St., Somerville, a quick walk from the Davis Sq. MBTA stop. Street parking is available. If you cannot attend, but want to help, sign up as a volunteer. Talk with you then.

published under Elections, Main Topic, Organizing | Comments Off on Sat., 1/30, Campaign Planning Meeting

Support MA Fusion Center Reform

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We voted unanimously to support of S.734, the fusion center reform bill. Digital Fourth is working on this campaign and is urging people to make calls to members of the Judiciary Committee and urge them to support this bill. Here are the names and numbers of the members of the Judiciary Committee. Winning over the House members is very important, so if any of these Reps happen to be yours, make sure to call.  Thanks! Senate Chair Will Brownsberger: (617) 722-1280 Senate Vice-Chair John Keenan (617) 722-1494 Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz (617) 722-1673 Senator Pat Jehlen (617) 722-1578 Senator Cynthia Creem (617) 722-1639 Senator Richard Ross (617) 722-1555 House Chair John Fernandes (617) 722-2396 House Vice-Chair Claire Cronin (617) 722-2396 Rep. Colleen Garry (617) 722-2380 Rep. John Velis (617) 722-2582 Rep. Michael Day (617) 722-2582 Rep. Paul Tucker (617) 722-2400 Rep. James Lyons (617) 722-2460 Rep. Jeffrey Roy (617) 722-2020 Rep. Evandro Carvalho (617) 722-2460 Rep. Carlos Gonzalez (617) 722-2080 Rep. Sheila Harrington (617) 722-2305

published under Civil Liberties, Help Needed, Main Topic, Privacy | Comments Off on Support MA Fusion Center Reform

Crypto Party, Wed., 1/27, 6-9pm

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There is a Somerville Crypto Party this Wednesday, January 27th. It will be from 6-9pm at Parts and Crafts, 577 Somerville Ave, Somerville, MA 02143. It is a potluck, so bring food to share. It will have key signing and there will be people who are happy to answer your computer and networking security questions. It is BYOB. Hope you can make it! If you want to help out with this or other cryptoparties in New England, join our email list. You can sign up at Anyone who wants to organize cryptoparties and share ideas for making them better, even non-Pirates, is welcome to join. Please note that photography and video recording of participants is not allowed at cryptoparties without their permission.

published under Cryptoparty, Freedom of Speech, Freedom of the Press, Main Topic, Privacy | Comments Off on Crypto Party, Wed., 1/27, 6-9pm

How to put a Pirate in Town Meeting

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It’s 2016, and it’s an election year. News outlets have been running stories about presidential candidates for months. Even if you’d rather not think about November’s presidential election, there’s little chance of escaping it. Presidential elections are a big deal, but that’s not the only office we’re electing in 2016. There are plenty of positions at the state and local level. State and local races aren’t nearly as theatrical as national politics, and they don’t get as much media attention, but they’re every bit as important. I’m talking about town meeting, boards of selectmen, alderman, school committee, and (if you’re ambitious) state representative. In 2015, I ran for town meeting in Arlington. Arlington requires valid signatures from 10 registered voters to get on the ballot, and I gathered 20 to be safe. With a little effort spread over two afternoons, I was on the local ballot. In the days leading up to the election, two friends and I knocked on doors in my precinct, reminded people about the upcoming election, and asked them to vote for me. When election day rolled around, my precinct had five candidates for four positions. I came in second, with 53 votes — and now, Arlington has a Pirate in town meeting. What does town meeting involve? Town meeting is the legislative body of a Massachusetts town. In Arlington, the meetings are held two evenings a week for several weeks starting in April. (Basically, town meeting remains in session until you’ve gone through the year’s business.) A town meeting discusses, votes on, and amends warrant articles, which are pieces of legislation which affect the town. They can involve budgets, capital plans, schools, conservation, the environment, and zoning. What’s my point in all of this? Maybe you can’t raise millions of dollars to run in a … Read more

published under Elections, Main Topic | Comments Off on How to put a Pirate in Town Meeting

Thanks for 2015! On to 2016!

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Thanks to everyone who helped in 2015. On the first, we had a fun 10th birthday party for the first Pirate Party, the Swedish Pirate Party. We have a busy year ahead of us and would appreciate the donation of your time and money so we can accomplish more than we did in 2015.  We could especially use the help since the cost of attending the 2016 Boston Pride Parade nearly doubled. Our first 2016 campaign meeting of the year is this Saturday, January 9th.  If you want to ensure that Pirates shake up our one party state, join us. We will meet at Pizzeria Regina, 353 Cambridge St., Allston (Boston), just off the Pike. It starts at 3pm and ends at 5pm. We have a lot to do with the tasks we have to finish.  Thanks for your help!

published under Elections, Main Topic, Organizing, Out And About | Comments Off on Thanks for 2015! On to 2016!

We need your help to make the next two years great

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For the last two years, the Massachusetts Pirate Party has run on a shoestring, but we’ve still accomplished a lot. We ran two candidates for State Representative and got our first Pirate elected to local office. We organized a statewide conference; we spoke at Left Forum; we tabled at two Freedom Rallies; and we marched in two Boston Pride Parades, as well as Black Lives Matter protests, the March Against Monsanto, and the Boston Peace Parade. We taught people to protect their privacy by teaming up with Together Boston, Danger!Awesome, the Somerville Public Library and other groups to put on cryptoparties.  We ran a cryptocorner at the P2P Conference, and monthly cryptoparties in Somerville.  We even helped organize a speaking event for writer, open culture and anti-DRM advocate, Cory Doctorow. Now we are asking you for your time and money so we can do more in 2016. We have been frugal with the money we raised, spending $100 less than we took in, and have a cushion that we didn’t have two years ago.  But like any organization, we need money to function, and to meet expenses.  Here is what your contributions do: They pay our basic expenses, including $200/year for web and email hosting, $128/year for a PO box, $80-90/year for domain name registration, plus more for services such as spam filtering for blog comments; They allow us to attend events.  Registration for the Boston Pride Parade and Freedom Rally costs $500/year, but we believe it’s a worthwhile investment for outreach; They allow us to pay for event space (when needed) for cryptoparties and hackathons. Yet the money we raise and the time our activists donate, comes from a small number of contributors; this isn’t sustainable, and doesn’t live up to our values.  We need your time and money … Read more

published under Help Needed, Main Topic | 1 Comment

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IRC Meetings Wednesday Night

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  1. Go to
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