Letters:

August 10, 2018
By

A different perspective on Sanchez

Observing how the radical activists in JP are hammering Jeffrey Sanchez these days, you would think our rep has moved to the right of Trump. As a self-described “radical progressive,” I want to offer a different perspective.

For the past 15 years Sanchez has been a champion of the immigrant community, the tenants of the Mildred Hailey Apts., youth of color, the LGBTQ community, a women’s right to choose, bi-lingual education, Boston’s Latin Quarter and affordable housing.  I use the word champion because he has listened, learned, taken leadership, AND delivered. No other elected official in Boston has put more energy into the public housing developments of their district.

What makes Jeffrey different from the ideological purists on the left is that he has spent the past 15 years playing the age-old game of real politics to acquire power – power that now has the potential to transform JP and shift the political landscape of Massachusetts.

Clearly, Jeffrey does not always strictly adhere to the long progressive issue check-list. Rather, he builds power and strategically utilizes it when he has the best chance to deliver results. Like a $1.8 billion bond bill for affordable housing. Like a $47M bond bill for development projects in Hyde-Jackson Square. Like a bi-lingual education bill. Like……

Sanchez has ascended to the Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee through savvy and his ability to play the inside/outside game. Although he still has to “play ball” with the leadership at the State House, he is the most progressive Ways and Means Chair in Massachusetts’ history.

With the current white-hot real estate market, the next decade will determine if JP becomes a predominantly white, middle class progressive enclave or if it maintains its economic/racial diversity. There are plans to redevelop the Mildred Hailey Apartments, build a $30 M recreation center, develop hundreds of new units of affordable housing and create a dynamic Latin Quarter. But plans and rhetoric are impotent without resources. Jeff Sanchez has accumulated the power to deliver the hundreds of millions that will be needed for these efforts to keep JP diverse and culturally vibrant.

Jeffrey does not get the A+ grade from the radical left, but he is the highest ranking Latino elected official in Massachusetts’ history. As he grows into and solidifies his new leadership position, Sanchez will work with progressives to set a realistic state-wide agenda and actually have the power to carry much of it out.

And there’s two more reasons to support him – he has a huge heart and he’s a hell of a Salsa dancer!

 

Ken Tangvik

Jamaica Plain resident

 

Why we’re voting for Elugardo

Progressives recognize that combating social inequality requires public policies explicitly addressing institutionalized racism. We are Latinxs with many combined years of activism in affordable housing, education, immigration, environmentalism, health care, and racial justice. Proud of our Black and Indigenous roots, we work to fight racism, homophobia, and other ills in our own culture and to amplify the voices of marginalized people—including women of color, who have proven to be our country’s most progressive voters. It’s imperative that we support candidates who won’t compromise on the moral principles grounding our activism and platform, including:

  1. Criminal justice reform: JP’s current State Rep. Jeffrey Sánchez opposes independent review boards for police shootings. We need a representative who will advocate for these boards, which curb police misconduct, hold police accountable for racially biased violence against brown and black people, and prevent future injustices. This is especially critical because while we are the majority in Boston, two-thirds of our police department—and more than 80% of its superior officers—are white. We must put the power of community into community policing.

Additionally, Rep. Sánchez is against eliminating mandatory minimums, despite no evidence that they reduce drug crimes or improve public safety and studies showing extreme racial bias in their implementation. In MA, Latinxs and Blacks (not mutually exclusive categories) are 25% of the population, but 75% of people serving mandatory minimum drug sentences and 40% of people incarcerated on drug offenses. Sánchez was the only member of the Black and Latino Legislative Caucus who didn’t sign its letter to eliminate the three strikes bill.

  1. Immigrant protections: As House Ways and Means Chair and the most powerful Latino in our legislature, Rep. Sánchez didn’t exercise his leadership to pass basic protections for undocumented immigrants, which means that local police can and do act as immigration agents. ICE is deporting people from—and separating families in—Massachusetts. It’s unacceptable that we cannot count on our representative to be a voice for some of the most powerless, hardworking people in our community.
  2. Environmental protections: Rep. Sánchez opposes charging companies a carbon emissions fee, which would reduce the effects of carbon dioxide pollution on our environment and health. We need such policies to reduce the pollution causing disproportionately high asthma rates among low-income Latinx and Black children and fueling the climate change ravaging Puerto Rico and the Latin American countries where many of us have roots and family.

Rep. Sanchez’s opponent, Nika Elugardo, champions these policies and is an experienced advocate for underserved communities. She’s a leader of integrity, unafraid to challenge anyone—including members of her own party—to push our state to lead on progressive values. Our rights are under assault daily; we need a representative who will convert our community’s progressive ideals into actions. This is not the time to play to the center or accept politics as usual. Nika is the revolutionary candidate equal to the times we live in—vote for her on September 4! ¡El cambio es necesario!

 

Betsaida Gutiérrez.  Puerto Rican

Norma Rey-Alicea.  Paraguayan-Colombian

Kendra Rosalie Hicks.  Dominican

Carlos Rios.  Nicaraguan-American

María Christina Blanco.  Bolivian-American

Martha Rodríguez.  Venezuelan

Edwin Rey Melenciano.  Dominican

Liza Cagua-Koo. Colombian

Boston Police Commissioner

Recently, we all learned that Police Commissioner Billy Evans would be stepping down from his post as police commissioner a job he has held since 2014 and at the same time Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh introduced his choice as new police commissioner announcing that Supt.-in-Chief Willie Gross will take over the Department after serving as a police officer in Boston since 1985 and raising up in the ranks. He was named the highest ranking BPD police officer by Walsh also in 2014.

After a 28 year career working as a special state police officer for the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health, I worked with a number of police departments including Boston as a supervising sergeant in Metro Boston DMH. I know what it is like to be a police officer and work with a population often at-risk. I know how important effective communications must be.

I retired in 2013 and never officially worked with Supt.-in-Chief Gross but I have observed in his nearly four years as the highest ranking uniform police office at the Boston Police and have seen him do an incredible job in some very difficult moments in the life of the city. We became friends and every so often, I would offer some sound advice.

I have always been a strong advocate of good relations with the communities the police serve. The motto of most police departments is “To Serve and Protect’ but it must never just be a motto on the side of a cruiser. It must be put into practice every day on every shift. Gross at the press conference said  improving relations between the police and the community is his number 1 priority.

Gross will become the city’s first black police commissioner and all eyes will be upon him but he will get up every day a police officer as he has since becoming a police officer 33 years ago. He may have grown up on his grandma’s farm in Maryland but he ended up in Dorchester as a 12 year old when his mother and sisters moved to his adopted home. He has worn a badge since he was 22 years old. It is a part of who he is and he did it for a reason. To serve and protect his neighbors across the city.

He said something so simple and yet so profound at the press conference announcing his promotion. He said, “If you want change, be the change, That is why I became a police officer.

Congratulations to Boston’s newest Boston Police Commissioner William G. Gross. A cop’s cop.

 

Sal Giarratani

East Boston resident

Call your representative

As a Jewish woman I grew up understanding that government sponsored torture occurs and that we must remain vigilant to ensure that it does not happen again. That is why I can’t sleep well anymore: it happened again.

As a social worker I know that separating children from their parents is torture, as the sudden, unexplained separation from a loved one is traumatic to a child. It is emotional torture. Now we are learning of forced drugging of children in detention, their sexual and physical abuse, the medical neglect and this morning that one child died from an illness she contracted in detention. Our government planned this and executed this. Jeff Session said we will separate you, ICE, under Trump, decided we will drug you, keep you (the children) in cages and treat you like prisoners (no hugging, no playing, no solace, no comfort).  I can’t sleep thinking of the parents’ emotional torture, separated from their children, as I learned one mother in detention stated: “I came here to escape death, instead they are killing me in the worst way possible.”

I have marched, signed petitions, donated money and gone to sleep and woken up thinking of these children, these parents tortured by our government, on our watch. Please make noise, call your representative, tell them it is not OK and that those responsible should be held accountable for their crimes. For it is a crime – the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide defines genocide as any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;

and (e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

 

Samara Grossman

Jamaica Plain resident

Sanchez a true champion of civil rights

Jeff Sanchez is a true champion of civil rights. The critiques from his opponents show a lack of understanding of or appreciation for the sometimes ugly and maddeningly slow process of representative democracy. We have every indication, as well as a long history of votes and legislation, that Jeff is in it for all the right reasons. He delivers.

Mr. Sanchez has said he welcomes the debate, and is inspired to make his case to the people.

But the claim by Mr. Sanchez’s opponent that Jeff trades power and influence at the expense of his constituents is a sad example of the kind of dirty politics Jeff has eschewed.  It sounds to me like someone who will say anything to get elected. J.P. does deserve great representation. Fortunately we already have it.

Andy Pond

Jamaica Plain resident

 

 

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