Chris Faraone Profile picture
Sep 14, 2018 14 tweets 16 min read
I know it's late, and there are immediate needs families are dealing with, but coverage of the #AndoverMAFires #LawrenceFires is already atrocious, so I wanted to share a few general thoughts and observations, some of which may explain what you're about to see unfold. #mapoli
We're hearing about @ColumbiaGasMA over and over. And yes, they're the contractor. But let's remember that Columbia is a subsidiary of the much larger @NiSourceInc: nisource.com/customers/wher… #mapoli #LawrenceFires #AndoverMAFires #Lawrence #Andover
In fact, here's a press release from 9.13.2018 about the work they're doing via Columbia in #Lawrence and #Andover (among other places). Link (and screenshot just in case). columbiagasma.com/en/about-us/ne… "Enhanced safety features, Reliability of service for years to come..." #mapoli
As @CharlesPPierce noted, "Governor Charlie Baker says response of Columbia Gas has been "adequate." My prediction is that's as critical as he is going to get ... #LawrenceMA #LawrenceFires #AndoverMAFires Check it out ...
You see, @NiSourceInc is a major player with a big old PAC. Here's a PDF of how they've spread more than $100k across the Bay State over the past decade: drive.google.com/file/d/1njFuGq… #gasfires #Massachusetts #mapoli #AndoverMAFires #lawrencefire #Lawrence
On a side note, this @MassSave commercial with cheery language for @ColumbiaGasMA, @NiSourceInc, @nationalgridus and others ran several times while I was watching coverage of the #gasfires on @WCVB tonight. Let's remember to check the day and time of those ad buys. #Lawrence
But back to that energy PAC ... please don't mistake anything I'm saying for conspiracy theory. I'm not suggesting quid pro quo. Just a much larger problem of sweeping influence. And lack of transparency/traceability. Which I want to talk about more...#LawrenceMA #AndoverMAFires
Now here's where it gets really tricky. If you're only looking for gas work and plumbing permits pulled by #ColumbiaGas in #Lawrence and #Andover, you won't get the whole picture. Because of course, contractors have subcontractors. #mapoli #AndoverMAFires #lawrencefire
Oh I have to back up an inch. There's another layer between @NiSourceInc and @ColumbiaGasMA - in #Lawrence it's #BayStateGasCompany doing biz as #ColumbiaGas. Same diff but important for research. Here they are petitioning for a rate hike this year: columbiagasma.com/en/about-us/ne…
There's a difficult but navigable trail of money, power, and influence to follow here. Sadly, I doubt there will be very much interest at all. Those attempting be warned: money exchanged between contractors and subcontractors is almost impossible to trace. #LawrenceMA #AndoverMA
The public doesn't have the attention span for multiple bogeymen, so generic media is scrambling to blame one person/party. While message board sleuths are probably trying to blame everyone. Nobody's ever interested in the longer #privatization story. #mapoli #Lawrence #Andover
Who knows, maybe I'll be proven wrong. It is an election year after all. We'll have to see where @jay4ma points fingers, and if Baker continues to flank the energy bigs. And the smalls, since the gov has lots of subcontractor donations too. #LawrenceFires #AndoverMAFires #mapoli
Reporters always says "follow the money." But they rarely actually do it. Because it's not nice to suggest that enormous publicly-traded companies care more about their bottom line than the customers they serve.
I'll wrap it up with that for now, and I'll add again that I'm down to speak with any reporters from around here or anywhere else that want to know more about lobbying and campaign finance in #Massachusetts. Hit me up right here. #LawrenceFires #AndoverMAFires #media #journalism

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