If Laura Bush can have her own plane & staff, surely the wife or husband of a governor - who wants to work on important public causes - deserves his or her own personal secretary. I think we can all agree that we don't want our Governors driving in a Honda Civic either, if only to spare their legs on long trips. A small remodelling of the Corner Office doesn't bother me either. Furthermore, a helicopter ride or two a month to important events held at remote areas of the state isn't going to kill our budget or create waste - it just provides Governors with the opportunity to actually show up in Great Barrington, Provincetown or Westfield. While we're at it, let's buy our Governors a fairly modest 3 bedroom Town House in Boston, that way future executives from Western Mass and Cape Cod aren't at a huge disadvantage when they're elected to office.
It's time for the public to come up with some guidelines for what's right - and wrong - for Governors to spend tax dollars on. Just what can they spend on cars? What cars are and are not okay for them to drive? What's an appropriate use of an helicopter? Would any of us consider cheesy 80s drapes in the Corner Office appropriate - or are they akin to airing outer space skinamax from a projector on the Golden Dome?
Deval Patrick was easy pickins because, to the Herald and Globe, there really were no guidelines on what was and wasn't okay to spend money on - the
Maybe the line isn't really a particular amount, but the necessity of transparency. I have a hard time believing that the public would have a problem with new curtains and a caddy if the intentions to get them (and the rational behind them) were made in advance. One of the core goals of the progressive movement is transparency, so this seems like a very good answer to me.