Letters to the Editor 02-20-2020

ASKING FOR YOUR VOTE TO REPRESENT THE 8th DISTRICT
Dear Editor,
My name is Robbie Goldstein. I am a primary care doctor at Massachusetts General Hospital, and I’m running to be the next representative in Congress for the 8th District of Massachusetts.
Growing up, my dad was a dentist and my mom managed the office. One patient at a time, they wove their practice into the fabric of the neighborhood. In 2001, I came to Massachusetts to go to college at Tufts University and then stayed to get my medical degree and doctorate in cancer genetics. Today, I’m a primary care doctor for those living with HIV, the LGBTQ community, and those affected by substance use disorders.
I have served as a leader and a teacher in the hospital. Throughout the years, too many of my patients face the same challenges — challenges that are bigger than any one person can solve, and have only gotten worse since 2001. Across the 8th District, thousands of people are living without health insurance. Many more are living with food insecurity, housing instability, and inadequate access to high quality transportation or a job that pays a living wage.
Over the coming months, I hope to earn your support and your vote. To learn more about me and our campaign for change, please visit www.RobbieForChange.com and @RobbieForChange on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Robbie Goldstein

LESLEY R PHILLIPS ANNOUNCES FOR RE-ELECTION TO DEMOCRATIC STATE COMMITTEE
Dear [Editor],
I am pleased to announce my candidacy for re-election to the female “ballot seat,” which I have held since 2008, representing the Middlesex and Suffolk State Senate District (currently comprising Allston-Brighton, Cambridge, Charlestown, Everett, Chelsea. and the West End) on the Massachusetts Democratic State Committee . This seat is elected for a four-year term as part of the quadrennial Presidential Primaries in Massachusetts. I humbly and respectfully ask for your vote for my re-election on Tuesday, March 3.
I have lived in our District, residing and owning property in Mid-Cambridge, for almost four decades, and have served on the Democratic State Committee and various of its working Sub-Committees for over 15 years, (I currently serve on the State Party’s Affirmative Action, By-laws, Charter, Disabilities Outreach, LGBT Outreach and Rules Committees.) I have also served continuously for the past 18 years as Secretary, and since 2004 Chair, of the Cambridge Ward 6 Democratic Committee, which has grown under my leadership to be one of the largest and most active local Democratic Committees in our District, and which I am pleased to report will be electing 35 members (34 on our ballot, plus one likely write-in candidate) also at the March 3 election, and together with our large number of “20-year” members, will reorganize in April with over 40 active members, and will be working hard to elect a Democratic president and U.S. Senator from Massachusetts in November! I have served as a delegate to 25 Massachusetts Democratic State Conventions. I was an elected Obama Delegate to the 2012 Democratic National Convention and a Sanders Delegate to the 2016 Democratic National Convention as well as a Kerry volunteer and then a Clinton volunteer at the 2004 and 2008 conventions, respectively.
My educational background includes an undergraduate A.B. degree in economics and mathematics from the University of Pennsylvania, the J.D. degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, and an Master of Divinity degree from Harvard University. (I am an ordained Unitarian Universalist minister.)
I have worked over many years as a campaign volunteer in numerous state and local campaigns, as well as national campaigns beginning with the late Sen. Kennedy’s presidential bids. I have also been involved with many, many local citizen actions, including (to name a few): the Cambridge Climate Emergency Congress; the campaign to save the Silver Maple Forest at Alewife Reservation; the Inman Square Neighborhood action to preserve the integrity of our public spaces; the protection of condominium owners’ and tenants’ rights; the fight to end unsafe nuclear energy in Massachusetts. I have served for 15 years as a Commissioner on the City of Cambridge LGBT Commission (where I am one of the three remaining founding Commissioners).
The Democratic State Committee is charged with supporting Democratic candidates at all levels of government, as well as supporting the democratically established positions spelled out in the Massachusetts Democratic Platform (which will next be revised in 2021, a process to be largely guided by the members of the Democratic State Committee), and advocating for both legislative initiatives and citizen ballot initiatives which promote the values of our Party.
I have been endorsed for re-elections by over 100 local elected officials, local Democratic leaders, and Democratic State Committee colleagues, including State Sens.Sal Di Domenico, Jamie Eldridge, and Paul Feeney; State Reps. Kevin Honan, Michael Moran, Joseph McGonigle and Mike Connolly; MA Governor’s Councillors Terry Kennedy, Marilyn Petitto Devaney and Eileen Duff; Everett Mayor Carlo De Mario; former Cambridge Mayor Denise Simmons; Democratic National Committee members Deb Kozikowski, David O’Brien, Mel Poindexter, and Susan Thomson; former Democratic State Committee Chairs Phil Johnston and John Walsh; and over 75 other Democratic State Committee colleagues.
There will also be elections for the Democratic Ward Committees (to serve for the next four years as part of the upcoming March 3 primary in every ward in the city. Ward committees form the backbone of our local political organizations, and play a major role in both issue organizing and grassroots campaigning. For those who are interested in getting involved in your local political organization, this is a once-in-four-years opportunity to get in on the ground floor! Each ward can elect up to 35 members on March 3. In most wards, fewer names than the number of seats available will appear on your ballots. Open seats can be filled by write-in candidates – in Massachusetts, write-in candidates must receive at least the number of votes equal to the number of signatures that would have been necessary to qualify for the ballot in the first place. For ward committees that qualifying number is just five, so if there are a lot of open seats in your ward, it can be a fairly simple matter to win one of those seats! (Obviously, if there is a contest, the write-in candidates with the highest votes – up to the number of open seats – will be elected.)
If you are interested in running as a write-in candidate for any Cambridge ward committee, I would recommend that you submit your name prior to the election to the staff at your Election or City Clerk’s Office, so that the election workers in your precincts can be alerted to look for and count your votes. I also suggest that as a courtesy, you contact your local ward chair to introduce yourself and your candidacy. (Contact information for all ward chairs is available at the Massachusetts Democratic Party’s website, www.massdems.org, and also from your local election office) This is particularly important as there are vacancies in most committees from time to time – often even immediately after the primary – which can be filled by the committees’ existing memberships from interested applicants.
Please remember that if you are “unenrolled” (that’s what we call “independents” here if you are new to Massachusetts), you can vote in our primary by requesting a Democratic ballot when you check in at your polling place, or when you request an absentee ballot. (Absentee ballots may be requested until noon on Monday, March 2.) Early voting is also available this year for the Presidential Primary, with special voting locations open from Feb. 24 through Feb. 28, as well as by mail. Again, check with your Elections Office for additional details.
Finally, I want to remind everyone of the importance of getting out to vote for the candidate of your choice in this year’s supremely important Presidential race! Voting – in every election – is important. It is the most sacred right – and obligation – of citizens in a democracy. People in many parts of our world still fight – and die – for this privilege. We should never take it lightly. Please go to the polls and vote on March 3 and vote as if your life depended on it.
Please feel free to email me at [email protected] if you have any questions, or visit my website, www.LesleyPhillips.org. And again, I respectfully ask for your vote for my re-election as your Democratic State Committeewoman for the Middlesex and Suffolk District. Thank you!

VOTE CAPOBIANCO FOR RE-ELECTION TO DEM. STATE COMMITTEE
Dear Editor,
I am humbly asking you to vote for my longtime friend and colleague Valentino Capobianco for re-election to the Massachusetts Democratic State Committee in the First Suffolk and Middlesex District. Valentino will appear on the Presidential Primary Ballot on Tuesday March 3.
I have had the honor and privilege in working with Valentino since he decided to volunteer in his community at the age of 15. Professionally we serve together on the Massachusetts Democratic State Committee together representing the First Suffolk and Middlesex District. In 2017, as a member Democratic Party Platform Committee Valentino successfully advocated for language requiring Presidential Candidates to release their tax returns.
As a member of the Winthrop School Committee, he led the effort to improve full free day kindergarten to help reduce the financial burden on working families. Capobianco supported Question 3 in 2018 and in doing so, he fought for LGBTQ students, and earlier this year the Winthrop School Committee passed a resolution in favor of the “Student Opportunity Act” which changed the Chapter 70 funding formula. He diligently worked within the town budget to approve two Teachers contracts with salary increases, without layoffs and without a proposition 2.5-percent Override.
Valentino is a kindhearted, hard-working young man that loves public service. He is a leader that we can trust and it is my honor to ask you to join me in voting for Valentino Capobianco for Democratic State Committee on Tuesday, March .
Sincerely,
Denise LoConte
Democratic State Committee Woman

I WAS ALMOST HOMELESS
Dear Editor,
I so enjoyed reading Alison Barnet’s guest editorial last week ‘If I were homeless.’ I have known Alison and always enjoy her commentaries about urban life. Her latest piece talking about homelessness was right on the mark.
Over the years Alison and I have shared our writings. Often we write on the same kinds of issues affecting our lives whether or not we realize it.
Alison and I have two things in common. Both of us are writers and both of us have a South End bond right down to East Springfield Street, where I started as a writer and where Alison writes from today.
Putting yourself into a story about homelessness makes it more than just a story about a subject. Alison was about to imagine herself through the eyes of those she sees everyday struggling through life with nothing but the clothes on their backs or a shopping cart to push while walking around until it is time to go back to sleep waiting for your very old groundhog day where life’s ugly side repeats itself endlessly.
As for me, back a few months ago, I had a nice studio apartment in East Boston, which was quite affordable, but then the building’s owner decided to sell his property for those big bucks everyone in Eastie is getting these days. I looked and looked to no avail. I started signing up for elderly housing where I wait. I am over in Roslindale waiting to return to my side of the city. Feel like I am in transition, an uncomfortable spot to be in. I never saw this day coming, but at least I have a place and the only time I push a shopping cart is inside the supermarket.
Being almost homeless is a lot better than the alternative, but isn’t that comfortable either. We all need our own places in life and none of us should ever be forced to sleep in the streets or a crowded shelter.
Our world is changing as prices and prices keep escalating out of reach for so many of us. We are fast become societies of the very rich and the very poor. If you are in between, you are out of luck in 2020.
Bottom line: I was almost homeless and that scared the @!&% out of me.
Sal Giarratani

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