Letters to the Editor

August 23, 2018
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Ward 4 looks to Katie Ford in Registry of Deeds race

Dear Editor,

On Tuesday, Sept. 4, the day of Labor Day, voters will have a number of important choices to make on the ballot. In some cases, voters will be well-aware of what an office does (e.g., Congress), yet in others, they may be less familiar. But these county-level races, which attract far less media attention, still have a considerable impact on people’s everyday lives.

Take, for example, the Registry of Deeds. The Registry is tasked with maintaining public records relating to real estate ownership. If you buy or sell your home here in Suffolk County, you’ll be dealing with the Registry. And the Registry plays an important role in implementing the Community Preservation Act, which voters passed overwhelmingly in 2016 and which will provide crucial resources for affordable housing, green and open space, and historical preservation.

The year 2016 saw a seven-way primary, in which now-incumbent Stephen Murphy won with only 30 percent of the vote. Katie Forde, the runner-up just three points behind Murphy, is running again.

And voters are lucky that she is. For one, in a state notorious for uncompetitive elections, primaries are important in forcing candidates to make their case to the public about why they deserve your vote. But, more importantly, voters are lucky because Katie is an impressive candidate.

As a paralegal working on divorce and foreclosure cases, she’s had to interface with the Registry and has developed a clear sense of what needs to be improved. On the trail, she has talked about greater data collection, so that the office can better identify loan discrimination, mortgage failure, and the evolving housing landscape. She understands the importance that homeownership can play in building wealth for communities of color, especially in the county with the largest racial homeownership gap in the state. And she wants the office to interact more with the public, whether that’s through a “Lawyer for a Day” program that can help answer people’s questions about their deeds, liens, or homebuying processes, or through updating the website to make it more user-friendly.

Although the Registry is often seen as a somewhat sleepy, bureaucratic office (because of the types of politicians who have held it), it has a lot of untapped potential. And Katie is the exact type of person who can harness that. Her history of activism with Planned Parenthood and MassEquality and campaigning for progressive stalwarts like Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Attorney General Maura Healey shows that she’s ready to fight for all residents of Suffolk County. We need more people like that in office.

Jonathan Cohn, chair of

Ward 4 Democratic Committee

 

(The following letter was submitted to the City and to the Sun as a comment letter on the Kilmarnock Street proposed development)

ON THE KILMARNOCK DEVELOPMENT

Dear Editor,

This is to follow up the Boston Sun report in the July 27 edition about the July 24 IAG meeting…As a native Bostonian, I am distressed that in keeping with its typical practice, the BPDA is rubber-stamping this major project, which does not contain ONE single unit of family-friendly housing — at ANY price.

The Sun reports: Jacob Vance, senior development manager for Cabot, Cabot & Forbes, said the units would be studio, one, and two-bedrooms split between “mid-market condominium housing” and rental units.”

Certainly it is great that this project will bring over 440 units of housing to the City, but of these 443 units, there is NOT ONE SINGLE UNIT where in the 21st- century people can raise a boy and a girl in the city OR provide multi-generational housing to a child and an aging parent or other relative — AT ANY PRICE. This major deficiency has obvious negative impacts, both now and for the future, with respect to addressing the housing needs of the city’s residents and damaging the long-term stability both of the Fenway neighborhood and of the City as a whole. What is somebody who already has a family supposed to do? All told, there is only a trivial number of three-bedroom units in the construction pipeline.  And what is somebody likely to do when they anticipate an addition to their family?  (HINT:  MOVE — outside of the city.)

I encourage you to ask your BPDA colleagues AND the proponents if they would be prepared to bring up their own families, which may have adolescent boys and girls both, in a two-bedroom unit.  And go back to the drawing board while it is still feasible to make minor adjustments.  For comparison, the BRA just approved the “Shawmut Avenue/Washington Street Block,” with an anticipated 536 units, with number of three-bedroom income-restricted units expected to be the same as the number of one-bedroom units, all to be onsite.

Also, I note from the article that in lieu of contributing any new low-income housing, the developers plan to contribute to buying the Newcastle/Saranac Apartments at 599 Columbus Ave. (corner of Northampton Street) in the South End, which provides 97 units of EXISTING low-and moderate-income housing.

I’m not clear on how this benefits anyone.

Edward Jay Allan

Milford Street

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