Letters:

November 23, 2018
By

Where do Boston’s most engaged voters live?

In a short corridor connected by Centre Street running through parts of Jamaica Plain, Roslindale and West Roxbury populated by homeowners. Citywide turnout in the 2018 election was 53.77%, led by six leafy precincts that had turnout higher than 75%:
Ward 20, Precinct 7 Roslindale/West Roxbury (Holy Name/Centre St) 75.88%
Ward 19, Precinct 9 Jamaica Plain (Sumner Hill) 75.52%
Ward 20, Precinct 11 West Roxbury (Bellevue Hill) 75.49%
Ward 20, Precinct 4 Roslindale (Fallon Field/Peter’s Hill) 75.34%
Ward 19, Precinct 2 Jamaica Plain (Moss Hill) 75.30%
Ward 19, Precinct 8 Jamaica Plain (Pondside) 75.17%
In the September 2018 primary, the highest turnout precinct was Roslindale’s Ward 20, Precinct 4 (Fallon Field/Peter’s Hill), which is located outside the Capuano/Pressley congressional district but delivered strong support for Nika Elugardo over incumbent state representative Jeffrey Sanchez, of Jamaica Plain.
Long gone are the days when South Boston dominated city elections. Today’s epicenter of voter turnout in Boston borders Wards 19 and 20: JP, Roslindale, West Rox.

Carter Wilkie
Roslindale resident

Addressing Climate Change in Boston

Bravo to Mayor Walsh for speaking forthrightly on the urgency of climate change and for putting forward a plan for the City of Boston to respond to the consequences. Unfortunately it is too little too late; much more drastic measures must be taken immediately. The level of CO2 in the atmosphere passed 400 parts per millions earlier this year, a level not seen on Earth for millions of years. As a result we are locked into a disastrous sea level rise and weather extremes that will leave large parts of Boston uninhabitable in the lifetime of our children. The mitigation measures the Mayor plans will only stave off the coming problems for a short time. What we need are immediate steps to stop burning fossil fuels. The Mayor should start by throwing all his political capitol into forcing Speaker DeLeo to pass the carbon fee and dividend legislation that passed the state Senate last year but died on the Speakers desk. Once the economic incentives are in place to end our ruinous fossil fuel addiction, and once we devised the technology necessary to extract excess CO2 from the atmosphere, then we can build resilient harbor measures with confidence that they will have a lasting effect.

Alan Wright
Citizens Climate Lobby
Roslindale resident

One mistake after another
According to a CNBC report recently, America has spent $5.9 TRILLION dollars on wars in the Middle East and Asia since 2001. To think that much of this can be blamed on or traced back to the dastardly, evil, but ingenious 9/11 attack on the United States. But it goes back much further, as we know, to this country’s meddling in the affairs of “underdeveloped” countries in the Middle East and elsewhere for profitable gain. Iran’s antipathy towards the U.S. can be directly linked to 1953 and the covert action of our CIA to overthrow the existing government in order to install a friendlier regime. We didn’t learn from that, we didn’t learn from the experiences, make that failures, of the United Kingdom and Russia in Afghanistan – and, for that matter, the region of Asia Minor, Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. Perhaps more embarrassing is that we have forgotten the lessons of Vietnam, an unforgiveable foreign policy disaster that lasted over 19 years and took the lives of so many on both sides, sparked by some irrational fear that this was the last chance and only way to stem the tide of communism. Like the Bush/Cheney manufactured weapons of mass destruction “evidence” to justify an invasion of Iraq, LBJ manufactured the Gulf of Tonkin incident to turn on the spigots full blast ordering mobilization, the beginning of one of the most ill-conceived commitments to war in the history of mankind,
Many scorned President-elect Obama when he apologized to the world for America’s exploitation of certain countries by a foreign policy often guided by corporate interests. How dare he think it necessary to apologize to anyone, thought many Americans, because the all-powerful United States of America can do no wrong. Unfortunately, it is this kind of thinking that allowed Donald J. Trump, a millionaire twice over from birth and, for the most part, a mediocre businessman whose business failures outweigh his successes, to become the leader of a once great country. A man who has trouble with his native language, American English, who seems incapable of even reading prepared speeches without stumbling. A man who clearly has no understanding of history or what it takes to be “play well with others.” A man who, in any other leadership or management role, would be relieved of duty because of incompetence and suspected mental illness. As they say, GO FIGURE!

Michel L. Spitzer
Jamaica Plain resident

A reply to a reply

Dr. Don Gillis – in reply to my JP Gazette letter of 9/14 – condemned Representative-Elect Nika Elugardo for not denouncing my letter, which he described as hate speech. In my letter, I criticized Representative Sanchez, as Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, for not permitting a vote on the Safe Communities Act or on its components passed by the State Senate1. As Chairman, he had the power to bring the bill to a vote. He instead blocked it, ending, for now, the possibility that the undocumented in Massachusetts are protected from police collaborations with ICE. We tend to think of our Commonwealth as progressive – but tragically for our undocumented community members, that spirit does not extend to them. Three Massachusetts counties and our state Department of Corrections have collaboration (287g) agreements with ICE2. So an undocumented caretaker driving to an elder’s house may be arrested and handed over to ICE – since in Massachusetts, unlike e.g. Connecticut and Vermont, the undocumented still cannot obtain a driver’s license.
I am a bit puzzled why Representative-Elect Elugardo should feel responsibility for something that I wrote; she and I have met once. Also bemused at being accused of hate speech, I looked up the definition of this phrase – “speech that attacks a person or group on the basis of attributes such as race, religion, ethnic origin, national origin, sex, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity,” according to Wikipedia. In fact, my criticism of Representative Sanchez is based on his action as chairman of the most powerful committee in the House, not on his identity.
I applaud Representative Sanchez for his positive work for constituents and the Commonwealth, like ending the state-wide prohibition on bilingual education (and like many voters, I had called his office to thank him). But the undocumented in our state continue to live in constant deep fear of deportation and breakup of their families. Our current governor directed State Police to collaborate with ICE in 20163. The Supreme Judicial Court in 2017 prohibited police from holding arrested individuals for ICE to detain4, but yet they do, referring to their agreements with ICE. The Safe Communities Act would have ended these practices.
Much could be said about what happens in our Massachusetts House of Representatives. Instead, please permit me to restate that I perceive chilling parallels to German history in the persecution of the undocumented here now. The most defenseless are falsely blamed for social ills brought on by failures of policy. The most vulnerable are called criminals or animals. Their most basic human relationships, like those between children and parents, are broken by force. I also learned in school that such events are made up of millions of everyday actions. Each powerful person may have a larger impact. But powerful or not, if we choose to affirm the rights of the undocumented and stand up for their humanity, our small impacts add up. I hope to join forces in this effort with Dr. Gillis.

Julia Koehler
Jamaica Plain resident
1. wbur.fm/2Qb1dXg; 2. wbur.fm/2TjjqAK; 3. bit.ly/2DsZxls; 4. wbur.fm/2eITUVP

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