Flight noise

As I sit here all this morning in my Jamaica Plain backyard being bombarded by Logan Airport’s Runway 27 departing aircraft I felt it necessary to set the official record straight about Roslindale’s “Boston South Air Skies (BSFS)” May 17th article in the West-Roxbury-Roslindale Bulletin newspaper. Several half –truths and falsehoods were contained in that article.

The FAA decision in 1997 to concentrate Runway 27 flightpaths over the Fort Point channel, Southeast expressway, Franklin Park and Forest Hills cemetery was found in extensive environmental analysis to impact 6,000 fewer inner-city residents that any other route off that runway. That 9 year long environmental study performed by the FAA was not brought about by “a group of activists from Jamaica Plain and Brookline”. It was brought to Federal Court by The Runway 27 Coalition, which was a non-profit citizen’s group representing impacted residents of South Boston, South End, Roxbury, Jamaica Plain, Roslindale, Hyde Park, West Roxbury, Brookline and Dedham. The BSFS leader Alan Wright continues to use the Massport/FAA strategy of “divide and conquer” by telling currently concerned citizens it was other neighborhood’s (JP and Brookline) fault that the FAA changed runway 27 flightpath. All of the communities mentioned earlier in this letter were given a seat at the table during that lengthy FAA study and had input into any decisions the FAA ultimately made. Shame on Mr. Wright for perpetuating such a divisive tactic when all neighborhoods suffering under Runway 27 overflight noise should have empathy for each other and make sure the least impactful jet route is used off Runway 27.

Additionally, the “dispersion” of departures that Mr. Wright and BSFS are pushing to have implemented would simply allow the FAA to run more aircraft off of Runway 27, using it more than they are now. Also, spreading the Runway 27 planes out from Boston City Hospital and Mission Hill to Franklin Park simply inundates the most number of public schools, hospitals, nursing homes, childcare centers and other noise sensitive sites as discovered in the 1997 FAA Environmental Impact Study on Runway 27’s airspace. None of Southwest Boston neighborhoods would be spared direct overflights should BSFS’ proposal go forward.

I am hoping that all City Councilors getting their “facts” from Alan Wright and BSFS will meet with others like myself who have been involved with this issue since the 1970s and can give a factual, historically accurate picture of the reality of Logan’s Runway 27 usage.

Any JP resident who is affected by the Runway 27 noise should not only call Massport (617-561-3333) to complain but should go to the Boston South Fair Skies Facebook page (http://bostonsouthfairskies.org/wordpress/ ) and inform them that JP did not move its noise onto Hyde Park and/or Roslindale but suffers along with them every day Logan uses Runway 27 for departures.

Anastasia Lyman

Logan Community Advisory Committee and founding member and former Chair

Former President of the Runway 27 Coalition, Inc.

Jamaica Plain resident

Why we are supporting Nika Elugardo for state rep.

Thanks to the Gazette for last issue’s extensive interviews with the candidates for the 15th Norfolk/Suffolk State House District. We are backing the challenger, Nika Elugardo, over the incumbent, Jeffrey Sanchez in the September 4th primary election.

The 15th District is a center of passionate politics, vibrant community organizations, and diversity. With a combined 83 years of resident activism in Jamaica Plain, we have been honored to participate in struggles for racial, economic and gender based justice. We believe that our District deserves a Representative who better reflects and channels these struggles and values. The endorsement of Nika by Mel KIng, one of Boston’s leading lights, got our attention. We discovered that Nika’s personal and political history has led her to positions we see as essential. For example, it’s time to be clear that Single Payer is the only solution to our health care crisis. And the climate crisis mandates rejection of all new fossil fuel infrastructure.

Furthermore, a Representative from our District must challenge the political culture in the State House. Last year the Boston City Council passed the Jim Brooks Community Stabilization Act, a modest attempt to help tenants facing eviction. Many activists and organizations from the 15th District aided this effort. But the Act needed approval at the State level to become law, and the State House leadership allowed it to die in committee. Our Representative did not publicly intervene. Going along with the established party leadership has been Jeffrey’s MO since he was first elected. We deserve representation that rocks the boat, and sometimes steers it in a different direction. Massachusetts once took the lead in making revolutionary ideas like Public Schools and Libraries the norm. We can be that leader again.

Beyond our District and our Commonwealth, the election and presidency of Donald Trump signal a democracy in deep trouble. We have to re imagine politics from the ground up, and we view Nika’s campaign as part of that journey. Our actions on the local and state level have taken on greater importance. We are in a fight to both model grassroots democracy and preserve hard fought expansions of democracy.

We see Jeffrey Sanchez as a good man, certainly opposed to the anti-democratic forces we face: racist nationalism, patriarchy; denial of history and science. We thank Jeffrey for his service to the community. But we see in Nika a different kind of elected leadership: progress defined as going beyond providing for people – which Jeffrey has done – to promoting active citizenship.

This race is a win/win. If Jeffrey keeps his seat, Nika’s campaign will make him a better representative. But if Nika beats the odds, and she can, we will have the opportunity to collectively break new ground.

Laura Foner and David J. Weinstein

Jamaica Plain residents

Financial challenges

The Q and A in the June 8th edition of the JP Gazette with Representative Sanchez and attorney Elugardo was an excellent example of well informed positions on  many of the challenges facing our great state.

With one exception.

Neither candidate spoke of the never ending challenge of finding innovative ways of financing all the needs to be met.

As just one example, the City of Boston, with an AAA credit rating reports that  it expects to pay 5 % in interest expense on it’s bond issues, or a total of $67,444,486. in FY 19 alone. Other cities and towns in Mass are facing similar challenges.

Yet there is a bill, H3543 currently in the legislature’s Joint Committee on Financial Services that would establish a state owned bank, with an initial focus  on infrastructure  projects, statewide and could provide financing at 2 %.

At least 10 or 12 other cities and states are exploring this issue. North Dakota already has such a bank. Could Boston make good use of  an annual $20 to $30 million in savings on its bonds, say for education or housing or any of the other public needs mentioned by the candidates. I vote yes.

Charles Grigsby (Immediate past President – Mass Growth Capital Corp.)

Jamaica Plain resident

Trump’s so-called victory

Trump will no doubt say (or, he may already have said it) that he’s done what no other president has done by negotiating with Kim in Singapore.  What really occurred between the two was no more than grandstanding by two men who, were it not for their lineage to power and money, would be considered below average in intelligence and would be lucky to find work in a local sweat shop.

On the other hand, what Trump might be referring to is that he’s perhaps the first president to travel to Singapore and not leave his hotel … and probably had his KFC and Big Mac flown in so that his security could insure there was no deviation from the junk food he so loves to eat while getting his daily briefing from Fox News.  Curiously, even the little dictator took a stroll, delighting in the new experience of what we’re told is a fascinating metropolis.Michel L. Spitzer

Jamaica Plain resident

Climate change

The statistics are shocking – around the world, more than 250,000 people will die every year because of climate change. The culprits are varied and sometimes familiar – poor air quality leading to respiratory distress, direct impact of excessive heat, or intensified storms flooding out communities such as we saw in the Boston area earlier this year.

The truth is that the health effects of climate change are the biggest public health crisis the nation, and the world, are facing.  And it is a problem that can be solved, at least in part, by implementing carbon pricing at the state level. Residents of New England have particularly good public health reasons to pass a type of carbon pricing called carbon fee and rebate.  The region has one of the highest asthma rates in the country, with one out of every nine individuals suffering from the illness.  Some neighborhoods in Boston have even higher asthma rates. Fossil fuel air pollutants and airborne allergens are some of the triggers for asthma attacks.

Given the global nature of this public health crisis, it is tempting to think that it is a problem too big for one state to solve.  But the truth is that public health – like politics – is local.  The current proposal at the State House, which just passed in the Senate on June 15, would, among other important things, create a common sense carbon pricing system in Massachusetts, similar to one that has worked well in British Columbia. The Act to Promote a Clean Energy Future (S. 2545), would charge fossil fuel importers a fee based on how much carbon dioxide pollution the fuels release when burned. The fees would go into a special fund for rebates and be passed on directly to households and employers in order to minimize any increased costs of living and doing business. Each resident would receive an equal rebate from the fund. Since low- and moderate-income households tend to use less energy than wealthier ones, on average they would come out ahead.

It’s important to point out that Massachusetts passed the Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA) in 2008, which mandates that the Commonwealth cut carbon emissions to at least 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.   Even though we have made some progress, we will need to adopt new initiatives in order to meet the legal benchmarks required by the GWSA.  Carbon pricing is only one policy that the Commonwealth will need to implement to meet those mandates, but it is the single most effective one – it gives us the “biggest bang for the buck” – to reduce emissions and improve public health.

We have the chance to pass a policy that will reduce carbon emissions dramatically, while generating more jobs and helping the communities that are disproportionately harmed by climate change.  The Massachusetts House Ways and Means Committee will be considering carbon pricing as part of this year’s climate-related legislation. Let’s urge Rep. Jeffrey Sanchez to pass legislation that creates common sense carbon pricing in Massachusetts.

Richard Clapp

Jamaica Plain resident

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