CONCERN FOR YOUR LICENSE PLATE NEVER HIGHER. Now that the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) has moved to all-electronic tolling (E-ZPass) on the Tobin Bridge and will move similarly on all toll roads in the state within the next two years, there’s a sharper focus on the condition of license plates. Today, if you take the bridge over mystic waters from Chelsea to Boston and you don’t have an E-ZPass transponder in your window, a camera takes a picture of your plate, and you will soon receive in the mail a bill for the full toll. This is the so-called Pay-By-Plate option. A plate that cannot be recorded clearly and fully by a camera thus gives a motorist an edge over the state in the never-ending battle between revenue collectors and revenue payers. So it’s no surprise that the State Police are stepping up enforcement of Section 6 of Chapter 90 of the Massachusetts General Laws, which requires that license plates be plainly and fully visible, and that the plate numbers and letters be legible from a good distance. (Vehicle inspection stations have long been instructed to fail a vehicle if the plate cannot be read from 60 feet away.) According to an August 5th MassDOT press release, state and local police issued approximately 4,000 citations for obscured and illegible plates during the first six months of this year. “We want to warn motorists about the legible plate requirement and also encourage everyone to sign up for E-ZPass,” said Highway Administrator Frank DePaola at that time. First-time violators of the visible/legible plate requirements are fined $35. For a second offense, the fine is $75, and for the third, $150.
PORTENT OF A PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDACY. A man well known around Boston was in Washington, D.C., not long ago when Lou D’Allesandro, an East Boston native who’s had a long and distinguished political career in his adopted state of New Hampshire, personally invited him to a D’Allesandro fundraiser there that evening. A football star at UNH in his younger days, D’Allesandro has been in the 24-member New Hampshire senate since the late-Nineties, serving a district centered in Manchester. “You should come,” Lou told the man from Boston. “There’s going to be a special guest, someone you’d definitely like to say hello to.” “Who might that be?” asked the man. Lou answered with one word: “Hillary.” Seventeen months before the nation’s first presidential primary, Hillary Clinton is lending her star power to a fundraiser for one electorally secure New Hampshire legislator. She must be running for president -- coyly running, but running, running, running.